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   Semantic Web for the Masses, by the Masses

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  • To: "XML Developers List" <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: Semantic Web for the Masses, by the Masses
  • From: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 11:08:24 -0500
  • Thread-index: AcYWyUA0pfIKM1bsSkGpG/E1ctJ5FA==
  • Thread-topic: Semantic Web for the Masses, by the Masses

Semantic Web for the Masses, by the Masses
                Roger L. Costello
1. To enriched the Web with semantics will require everyone pitch in to add descriptions (semantics) to individual Web documents.
1.1 Semantics will not be added by semantic gurus, but, rather, by the common users.
      Example: A person (a common user) takes a JPG photo of a coastline, and then annotates it with this description:
                    "This is a picture of the New England coastline."
2. The barrier to entry must be low.  That is, the barrier to a common user adding a description (i.e., semantics) to a Web document must be low.
2.1 Complex ontology languages such as RDF and OWL are out of reach for all but the semantic gurus, and are thus not used.  Even "vanilla XML" is out of reach for the common user, and is thus not used.
2.2 A Web document is enriched with semantics by the common user simply writing a description, in a natural language such as English (see above for an example of a description).
3. The semantic web must be self-regulating.
3.1 A description that is written by one common user may be edited by another common user.  Presumably the later common user has more knowledge and is thus able to correct or add to the description.
     Example. A second person with further information edits the above description:
                   "This is a picture of the New England coastline, near the Boston harbor."
3.2 Common users regulate themselves - they ensure that all descriptions of a Web document are consistent.
4. The tool used by the common user to annotate a Web document with a description (semantics) must be lightweight.
4.1 A simple text box with a basic editor and versioning will suffice. 
5. Advanced semantic machine processing are services provided by a limited set of companies which employ Ph.D semantic gurus.
5.1 Company XYZ is one of those limited set of companies.  It employs Ph.D semantic gurus.  They write advanced code to process all the descriptions written by the common users.  They use RDF and OWL, if they desire.
Comments?  /Roger


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