The World Wide Web is a very powerful tool but its efficiency and dynamism depends a lot on the person’s resourcefulness and skills. It is as much as effective as the person’s knowledge on how to navigate the web. Websites have helpful links and search functions. But imagine the Internet as having a functional mind of its own. It can understand every word that is keyed in by the user. It understands the relationship of these words and gives a more suitable response, just like a thinking person. This is the vision of the Semantic Web. By adding metadata to the web pages, the World Wide Web can be easily read by the machine. This enables the machine to interpret the information in a deeper level, communicate with other information stored in the World Wide Web and give more accurate results with less effort.
➤ World Wide Web Consortium
World Wide Web Consortium, W3C, is an international standards body that promotes the development of the Semantic Web. By creating semantic contents in every web page, the World Wide Web can be transformed into a more dynamic and functional database. They envisioned of creating a common framework where information can be freely shared and reused across applications and enterprises. But in order for this to happen something should be done to the one that handles the data, the machine. Data is stored in the machines and is accessed when the information will be retrieved. Machines are purposely designed to hold information but not to understand them. It may be programmed to understand syntaxes but not the meaning of each word. The goal of W3C is to make the machine understand the real world meaning of every word it comes across with.
➤ Resource Description Framework
Making machines understand the human language is a big challenge. To come up with a solution, a team of people with backgrounds on logic and artificial intelligence is needed. The development of the RDF is biggest step towards Semantic Web scripting. RDF or Resource Description Framework is a language that describes information and resources in the World Wide Web. When information is added to an RDF file, the machines would be able to search, discover, analyze, and process it. How does it work? RDF uses XML tags to describe resources. These tags will then be “read” by the machines. But this is not as simple as it sounds. The scripting can be very hard even for experienced developers.
Aside from tags, machines also need documents and logics to process the information. Documents contain the description of the words while logic will tell the relationship of each word. These would be the schemata and ontology. The schema will organize the information while the ontology describes the object and how they relate to one another.
➤ The Semantic Web Process
Imagine a person trying to buy a cell phone. A normal web search would return pictures and information using links and keywords. But the Semantic Web will be able to do more.
- Each page includes information that the person can read and metadata that the machine can process that is relevant to the search.
- The metadata, using RDF and XML tags, would make all information about the cell phone readable to the machine.
- Ontologies will be accessed to give the machine the documents needed to describe the cell phone and its attributes. This can be shared across databases such as retail stores and cell phone companies.
- Applications or agents will then read the metadata and compare information ensuring the information’s integrity.
- Using the profile of the user, the machine will give a more accurate and dynamic result by applying every meaning of the word included in the search.