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> If you look at RSS data for long enough you realize it's information
> rich and that information is being produced almost totaly as
> side-effect of blogging. Then maybe you go and read Metacrap, but
> with your eyes opened.
Off course Bill an RSS frame contains very little information. Its basically
a table of contents. There are no vested interest in lying about information
location. This is not the same thing for other kinds of meta data. Take for
instance, the following RDF
Considering the huge market for this category (especially in the USA) do you
firmly believe that this meta-data will trustable? Maybe 1 or 2% of the time
but surely not for the vast majority...
Actually the only success of meta-data publishing is about publishing table
of contents. People have enough incentives to be honest about providing
location, date and a short description about a resource. For those who
remember (approx in 1995-1994) we are still at the stage of projectX (from
Apple research). As a reference for those who came to the web later on,
Project X was a meta data browser. The meta-data frames where encoded into
MCL (meta Data Language). Two MCL browsers where made available for free: a
startree like explorer (Apple research) and a Microsoft Explorer extension
(Talva). It took roughly 10 years to bring it with a new syntax (but no new
semantics) to the mainstream.
The kind of meta-data Doctorow is speaking about is not about table of
contents but more other kind of meta-data like for instance providing
keywords or category for a resource. In that case I would trust more an
automated source than human beings trying to extract as much cash as
possible from our pocket. And even automated sources can be manipulated (we
call that Search Engine Optimization) by the very same people.
Bottom line, I really don't know if the semantic web can go beyond the table
of contents or some very limited applications. This said, the table of
contents wave is very welcome, I was waiting for it since more than 10
years. Yes we can say that the table of contents kind of meta data is a
success. It’s a limited application in a domain where you have maximum
chances to get honest data. This is not necessarily the case for other kind
of meta-data. Can we call a collection of table of contents the semantic
web? That is the question. Observing what is really happening, we can say
that RDF or any knowledge description language can succeed in some limited
applications where greedy people cannot take too much advantage of it. At
first, we thought that email is cool and tremendously useful. Take a look
now at your inbox now and watch what you get...
So now, what are the knowledge description applications having a certain
probability of success?
Didier PH Martin