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The Semantic Web

The Semantic Web

This video was recorded at MIT World Series: The Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT (2004). It's hard to keep up with the mastermind of the World Wide Web. In his fast-paced address, Tim Berners-Lee not only recaps the origins of the Internet, but sketches its future. The Web began as "a primeval soup of many things that know each other but haven't been put together," says Berners-Lee. In the late 1980s, he began experimenting with a way for fellow physicists to exchange information. According to Berners-Lee, the invention of uniform resource identifiers and hyper text markup language was critical to the Internet's phenomenal success. "HTML would be the warp and weft of the web, and within it, the jewels would be movies, and pictures and databases and …other formats that would evolve." Here's what's coming: the "semantic web," a way of indexing and linking together different kinds of web content. He envisions computers becoming even more useful, deploying a common, non-proprietary "resource description framework" that enables them to draw connections between disparate sorts of information. "What's nifty", says Berners-Lee "is putting links between objects and even concepts. It allows a query on one database to morph into a query into others." He imagines the semantic web emerging as a "killer application" in the life sciences, where correlating data from different fields has become increasingly critical.

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