Glimpse of the Future: The Semantic Web

JR Gardner, Sun Microsystems, and Dav Robertson, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at 9:00 this morning. Eric Hill from WC3 didn’t make it, but JR enthusiastically covered dozens of slides about Sun’s internal Semantic Web initiatives. Frequently referring to various complex aspects as “fun,” JR said that SRW (Search/Retrieve Web Services) and SRU (Search/Retrieve Using URLs), and “inference searching,” will ultimate change the way we search, offering richer discovery and more exact results.

Ontologies are a key component of the Semantic Web, and in the second half of the session Dav Robertson described the metadata generation research he has undertaken with Jane Greenberg. At this point we’re not there yet, but this session definitely helped me understand more about the future potential of the Semantic Web.

The conference has been sprinkled with several well-attended sessions about taxonomies and ontologies. Clearly, “taxonomy” is one of this year’s buzz words. Does anyone remember cataloging and controlled vocabularies?

Nancy Garman

Information Today, Inc.

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