Saving the “Semantic” Web (part 1)

Semantics: Who You Gonna Call?

I quote “semantic” in ‘Semantic Web’ to emphasize the web had semantics long before puff pieces in Scientific American.

As a matter of fact, people traffic in semantics every day, in a variety of mediums. The “Web,” for all of its navel gazing, is just one.

At your next business or technical meeting, if a colleague uses a term you don’t know, here are some options:

  1. Search Cyc.
  2. Query WordNet.
  3. Call Pat Hayes.
  4. Ask the speaker what they meant.

Take a minute to think about it and put your answer in a comment below.

Other than Tim Berners-Lee, I suspect the vast majority of us will pick #4.

Here’s another quiz.

If asked, will the speaker respond with:

  1. Repeating the term over again, perhaps more loudly? (An Americanism that English spoken loudly is more understandable by non-English speakers. Same is true for technical terms.)
  2. Restating the term in Common Logic syntax?
  3. Singing a “cool” URI?
  4. Expanding the term by offering other properties that may be more familiar to you?

Again, other than Tim Berners-Lee, I suspect the vast majority of us will pick #4.

To summarize up to this point:

  1. We all have experience with semantics and encountering unknown semantics.
  2. We all (most of us) ask the speaker of unknown semantics to explain.
  3. We all (most of us) expect an explanation to offer additional information to clue us into the unknown semantic.

My answer to the question of “Semantics: Who You Gonna Call?” is the author of the data/information.

Do you have a compelling reason for asking someone else?


7 Responses to “Saving the “Semantic” Web (part 1)”

  1. […] Saving the “Semantic” Web (part 1) ended concluding authors of data/content should be asked about the semantics of their content. […]

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