Another report from Pew that has hit my inbox, courtesy of Rachel Flagg on the W3C egov Interest Group, is a study entitled “The Fate of the Semantic Web“. At 48 pdf’d pages it’s not a strenuous read and Pew have gone to great lengths to make this a challenging report about a concept the workings of which are really so little understood that the then Prime Minister dropped it into a speech without explaining what is expected to result from it, as I reported back in March in “A week in politics“.
However, if you’d like to know more about what might result in the world of the semantic web and whether some of the Internet’s most notable thinkers, all 895 of them, consider it will happen when and how Tim Berners-Lee seems to think it will, look no further than the Pew Internet site.
One quotation from the report that sums it up for me is from Larry Masinter of Adobe who states “The ‘semantic web’ is a direction for technology development, not a ‘thing’ that can be ‘achieved,’ and whether average internet users notice not a particularly useful question.”
There was a similar problem with e-government, where we had the politicians wanting some of “it”, since “it” was obviously a good thing, and we then spent six or seven years trying to achieve “it”. The semantic web is happening and will continue to happen; what we need to do is make sure we have standards across government to help it happen in the best way for users along with trying to work sympathetically across government(s) to deliver it, in a manner that will benefit the citizens and the nations.
Everything is possible, it just helps to have some comprehension of standardization, or even standards, amongst those delivering it to produce a worthwhile outcome.