Searching for information and data on the Worldwide Web has always been handled manually by individuals and not machines. Computers cannot just handle a search without any human intervention because they still lack the intelligence to do so. However, with semantic web, machines can do the more difficult task of searching for relevant information as they are able to understand intent to make the search more significant without the traditional use of keywords. While this technology still has to gain wide acceptance from the community of users, it has specifically benefited many industries that rely on web information.
➤ How the integration of semantic web makes data machine readable
Files on the web are divided between those that can easily read by human and those that can be read by machines. Web users are clearly able to read messages, website content and data without the need for software but there are certain data that requires specific applications to be viewed, searched and combined. However, computers don’t readily understand the language of humans and they cannot easily correlate the relationship between a father and a son. The integration of semantic web technology allows for data to be machine-readable for an automatic integration of information available on the web. This is allowed through schemata and ontologies that help the computer understand the language that humans use.
➤ Schema and ontology in semantic web
Schema organizes information while ontology means the ability to search through a multitude of files, databases, spreadsheets and documents without any risks of integration. The ontology and schema used in semantic web are as follows:
- RDF Vocabulary Description Language schema (RDF-S) – a basic language framework is created through classes, sub-classes and properties to resources.
- Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) – classifies the resources according to broader or narrower and allows the designations of preferred and alternate labels
- Web Ontology Language (OWL) – available in 3 levels of complexities: Lite, Description Language and Full, it formalizes ontologies and describes the relationship between classes making use of logic in order to make deductions. However, ontologies can be difficult that is why many developers prefer to focus more on logic than ontology.
The web is obviously enormous and incorporating the semantic web is often a challenge that organizations have to hurdle. However, there are organizations that have taken the initiative to create protocols and guidelines and have taken an active role in the development of semantic web like W3C or Worldwide Web Consortium. Much of the functions and practicality of semantic web are still in the development stages but some areas of the Worldwide Web has already incorporated semantic web components like the more familiar RSS Feeds that uses RDF and the FOAF project that aims to create machine readable web pages. However, this new technology has its share of criticisms since it is very unlikely that businesses and stores will make the effort and devote the time to add all the necessary metadata to make the search easier and more organized. On the other hand, the semantic web remains to be a feasible idea that will definitely change the way search is handled.