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2010 Short List Semantic Web
2010 ANZ Short List
2010 ANZ Horizon Report Short List
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
Visual Data Analysis
Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
The idea behind the semantic web is that although online data might be easily available for searching, their meaning is not: computers are very good at returning keywords, but very bad at understanding the context in which keywords are used. A typical search on the term “turkey,” for instance, might return traditional recipes, information about the bird, and information about the country; the search engine can only pick out keywords, and cannot distinguish among different uses of the words. Semantic-aware applications allow meaning to be automatically inferred from content and context and structured in a useful way. The promise of these applications is to help us see connections that already exist, but that are invisible to current search algorithms.
There are currently two theoretical approaches to developing the semantic capacity of the web. One is problematic in that it assumes metadata will be added to each piece of content to include information about its context. The second appears to have a far greater likelihood of success, as it focuses on developing natural language search capability that can make those same kinds of determinations without any special metadata. Semantic-aware applications are in this category.
Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Enquiry
A wiki focused on teaching undergraduate math using Wolfram|Alpha helps students with their homework (
Using semantic web technology, the University of Plymouth has gathered course resources that would formerly be available through the library or bookstore; the materials are available online in one location, so students need not compete for the library's limited resources.
As the amount of available information continues to grow, semantic tools that can deliver context-sensitive information will become more key for research and sense-making.
Semantic Web in Practice
Apture is a free semantic application that allows users to find and add relevant multimedia easily to blogs:
Scientists from several schools, including the University of Florida and Cornell University, have been granted funding to create a Facebook-like, scholarly website with semantic search:
Hakia, created using Yahoo's new Build your Own Search Service (BOSS), is a semantic web service that provides results based on quality, not popularity. One criterion, for example, is that results come from librarian-recommended sites:
For Further Reading
The Semantic Web
(Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila,
, May 2001.) This seminal publication provides a solid foundation for understanding this technology, how it applies to the larger ecosystem of the web, and the implications it will have in the future.
Semantic Web at Data.gov
This site provides a number of examples of how the semantic web could be used to analyze government data in a visual context.
This free publication is a good resource for staying up to date on current and emerging semantic web technologies. The articles provide many examples and case studies.
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The New Media Consortium
is an international 501(c)3 not-for-profit consortium of
hundreds of learning-focused organizations
dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. (
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