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Semantic Web Ready for Phase Two

NEW YORK -- The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Semantic Web is ready for a new phase of development that will lead to the creation of new tools, languages and applications, the W3C's director said.

In the process, the Semantic Web will respond more intelligently to user queries.

The future of the Semantic Web dominated the discussions at this year's week long World Wide Web Conference. Tim Berners-Lee used his keynote to applaud the recent approval of two key technologies -- Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) -- and outline a vision of building up and out from those foundations.

Berners-Lee, one of the driving forces behind the idea of giving data more meaning through the use of metadata (define), said the second phase will offer a time of "less constraints" where many new tools and languages built on RDF will emerge.

He predicted a future where enterprises would adopt the Semantic Web and be startled by the dramatic way in which data can be collected and formatted in order to help humans and machines interact with information. "We will see many new different applications and RDF and OWL will tie them all together. We'll see an extension of languages with variables and quotation."

During his keynote address at the meeting Wednesday, Berners-Lee outlined the simplicity of the Semantic Web, as based on RDF, but lamented that not many enterprises had bought into the value of adopting the concept.

"There is a culture gap there. A lot of the geeks are doing all kinds of stuff to their personal data but because enterprise data is hidden, there's that gap. Not many enterprises get the Semantic Web and I think that to bridge this gap, we have to figure out how to speak all the languages."

He provided overview examples of how different types of data could be cut-and-pasted or dragged-and-dropped into a Semantic Web rule to generate events or transactions in spectacular new ways.

"We're at that stage now where we can look ahead to how the data will be indexed and how the rules will be indexed. That's when things get really interesting."