03 October 2007

my response to "The Semantic Web as a large, searchable catalogue: a librarian’s perspective"

I think I'd be better off not responding: I'm sure the authors put a lot of time and effort into the article, but I really don't see how it adds anything to the semantic web discussion. It's the same old thing Berners-Lee and company have been saying for the last 10 years or so. The web is broken and the semantic web is the way to fix it. Librarians (read "people who work with metadata"; though to many cataloguers the term "metadata community" is seen as something alien) have the skills, so they will sort it out.

And to be fair, some of the progress towards the semantic web has been done by librarians: OCLC developed the DCMI. Of course, that was years ago; what's been done recently?

It seems to me that most of the talk about the semantic web had pretty much dried up by a couple years ago. Then we had the Web 2.0 business spring up out of the woodwork: Social bookmarking; social networking; RSS (though rally it was around before the whole 2.0 hoopla); CSS (ditto); wikis; blogs; tags and folksonomies; AJAX and rich internet applications; and so on. These distracted us for a while (okay; I'm still distracted; and libraries have and could further benefit from many useful apllicatons of 2.0 technology), but it seems that people are going back to the old question: How do we impose order on the internet?

This, I think, is why the semantic web will remain a pipe-dream for a long time yet: In order to impose order on the internet, one must first ask "whose order?"

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites View carlos lopez's profile on LinkedIn