The Semantic Web is a Utopian Dream... Welcome to Reality
July 17th, 2007 in Web Design Culture
by: Matthew Griffin
When Sir Tim Berners-Lee and W3C consortium first developed the concepts that would become the foundation for the semantic web, they were trying to address a serious issue concerning the web. Namely, that the potential of the convergence of knowledge found on the web could not be fully realized because of its organic and unpredictable nature. In other words, we had a big ugly mass of information and no easy way to index and share it.
The Utopian solution of the W3C consortium essentially involves the cooperation of all web site designers in conforming to a set of rules that will make the information on their sites easy to parse, index, share, etc. For those of you heavily involved in the world of web design, this gospel is all too familiar. Of course, I do my best to design by standards but ultimately, that system is doomed to fail for two key reasons:
1. Technology is unpredictable. As soon as you settle into the standards that apply to one technology, a completely new one comes along.
2. Designers are unpredictable. Some are too new to know about standards and some are just too lazy to care.
All accessibility issues aside, the point is that we are much better off preaching the cause of specific and limited information exchange in technologies like RSS. We need easy-to-use lightweight means of getting only the most pertinent information out. We don’t need a Utopian revolution.
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