The Role of Semantic Web in Web 2.0: Partner or Follower?

coauthor: Mark Greaves, Vulcan Inc.
coauthor: Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
coauthor: Tom Gruber,
coauthor: Benjamin Grosof, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
published: March 23, 2007,   recorded: November 2006,   views: 9775

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Currently, the web phenomenon that is driving the best developers and captivating the best entrepreneurs is Web 2.0. Web 2.0 encompasses some of today's most exciting web-based applications: mashups, blogs/wikis/feeds, interface remixes, and social networking/tagging systems. Although most Web 2.0 applications rely on an implicit, lightweight, shared semantics in order to deliver user value, by several metrics (number of startups funded, number of "hype" articles in the trade press, number of conferences), Web 2.0 technologies are significantly outdistancing semweb technologies in both implementation and mindshare. Hackers are staying up late building mashups with AJAX and REST and microformats, and only rarely including RDF and OWL. This panel will consider whether semantic web technology has a role in Web 2.0 applications, in at least the context of the following areas:

1. Web 2.0 and Semantics: What unique value can semantic web technologies supply to Web 2.0 application areas? How do semantic web technologies match up with the semantic demands of Web 2.0 applications?

2. Semantics and Web "Ecosystems": Web 2.0 applications often strive to build participatory ecosystems of content that is supplied and curated by their users. Can these users effectively create, maintain, map between, and use RDF/OWL content in a way that reinforces the ecosystem?

3. Semantic Web in Practice: Does semantic web technology enable the cost-effective creation of Web 2.0 applications that are simple, scalable, and compelling for a targeted user community? Can semantic web technology genuinely strengthen Web 2.0 applications, or will it just be a footnote to the Web 2.0 wave?

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