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Spinning the Semantic Web

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Spinning the Semantic Web

Bringing the World Wide Web To Its Full Potential

MIT Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The Web is a free-for-all. To make real sense of its massive information, you have to be able to find out what it means.

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Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Innovative


This book is relevant to all those who suspect "WWW" stands for "World Wide Wait." If you don’t understand the Internet’s shortcomings, just type "antidisestablishmentarianism" into the Google search engine and try to make sense of the 5,890 returns you get. Currently, there are three billion pages of information on the Internet, but within the next year that number will double. The question is how to manage the data while still increasing the functionality of the Web, continuing its transformation from a place where you "find something" to a place where you "do something." To accomplish those tasks, you have to go beyond "meta-tags" - those invisible headlines that tell search engines what any given page is really all about. This volume outlines the Semantic Web approach, which offers answers to those questions. A word of warning: this somewhat technical book will be of greatest interest to programmers, Web designers, specialists and motivated visionaries. recommends it highly - if you fit into one of those categories.


Your Search Results (An Overview)

Don’t look now, but the World Wide Web is growing like that spam you get touting Viagra. As it does so, users find it increasingly difficult to obtain information efficiently. Search engines most widely use the HTML or SGML format languages. Using these languages, search engines read formatting tags more than actual page content (which is expressed in natural language). However, an exciting new system, the Semantic Web, may replace the "Web of links" with a "Web of meaning." This will make content much more important.

In The Beginning

The original idea was that the Web would be a universal information space. Theoretically, by using a link, you could connect to any piece of information stored on the Web. But when its universality is diminished, the Web loses its power. The original motivation for this quality of universality was to help people work together more effectively. The Web was designed to enable a group of any size to coordinate its activities from any location. Today’s Web presents so much undifferentiated information, so many choices that vary so widely by quality and relevance, that another need has emerged: information...

About the Authors

Dieter Fensel is an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of Amsterdam. Henry Lieberman is a research scientist at the MIT Media Laboratory. James Hendler is director of Semantic Web and agent technology at the University of Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Laboratory. Wolfgang Wahlster is director and CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, and a professor of Computer Science at the University of Saarbrucken.

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