Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web
The World Wide Web Consortium is also known as W3C, These are the folks who define and redefine what the Web is and how it functions. They are now working on changes to the Web that will add functionality and change the way the web works. In this paper, they describe the direction they are going, their vision is called the Semantic Web:
The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. It is a collaborative effort led by W3C with participation from a large number of researchers and industrial partners. It is based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF), which integrates a variety of applications using XML for syntax and URIs for naming.
"The Semantic Web is an extension of the current web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation." -- Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, Ora Lassila, The Semantic Web, Scientific American, May 2001
There is no doubt the Web is changing. The Web started out as an environment where documents were posted and people went to the Web just to read documents. All work was still done on local computers where we used local software to do work. Then came web applications like Amazon and Google where the applications reside on computers on the Web. We read and write to these computers and the web browser becomes the gateway but the Web provides the services. Emerging Technologies like blogging and podcasting have extended this metaphor and this evolved Web is often called Web 2.0. Dan Gillmor speaks about how the Web is changing and suggests that we may be going into the third incarnation of the Web. Increasingly the Web is becoming it's own environment and is becoming reborn into what some consider to be a global operating system with it's own set of rules, called Application Program Interfaces (API), for exchanging information between disparate systems to create new sets of data.
Looking at this evolving Web is what this new seminar will be all about. This is planned to be introduced with the running of the summer series of Emerging Technology sessions at the Center for Faculty Development and Support at SJSU.