A couple of recent resources have appeard lately that offer interesting entry points into discussions about what the semantic web is about and whether it is a reasonable vision of the future of web development.
Web 3.0 Documentary. This 14-minute documentary by Kate Ray includes interviews with Clay Shirky, David Weinberg, and Tim Berners-Lee among others.
“The Fate of the Semantic Web.” This report by Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie from the Pew Internet & American Life Project presents the results of a survey of authorities on technology and the web about whether Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the semantic web would likely come to fruition by 2020. Respondents will split on this question. The most interesting part of the report, though, is not the survey data but the comments from respondents, which offer a great range of views on why the semantic web will or will not develop noticeably by 2020 and why.
Janey Chao, Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Moon-Seok Kang, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Jin Ma, Ryan Phillips, Mike Waldman
Net Neutrality and the FCC
We discussed the recent court decision that ruled the FCC lacked the authority to regulate the internet, a move which presently curtails the FCC’s ability to issue policies relating to net neutrality (covered in this New York Times article from 6 April 2010). We noted, though, that because of this setback to the FCC, there may soon be legislation that will expressly give the FCC regulatory powers over the internet.
Launch of the iPad
Moon-Seok Kang, a BCTC lab assistant, showed us his brand new iPad and talked about its features and usability. We took a look at a blog post from NCSU Libraries about their new iPad loan program. We also discussed the news that Apple was developing a way to deliver ads in the apps that you can install on your iPhones and iPads (see this New York Times article from 9 April 2010). It was also suggested that we might benefit from having a regular gadget petting zoo, where library staff and faculty could get their hands on the latest technological gadgets to see what they look like and how they work.
Hellman, Eric. “The Library IS the Machine.” Go To Hellman, 7 April 2010. Web.
Flat World Knowledge
Arthur Downing gave an update on a recent meeting that he and a group of others from Baruch had with an executive from Flat World Knowledge to hear the company’s pitch to provide textbooks for selected courses here.
Reading this recent interview with Tim Berners-Lee, I was struck by his elegant description of how linked data on the web and textual material on the web (web pages, documents, etc.) will relate to each other:
You’ve got search for text phrases on one side (which is a useful tool) and querying of the data on the other. I think that those things will connect together a lot.
So I think people will search using a search text engine, and find a webpage. On the front of the webpage they’ll find a link to some data, then they’ll browse with a data browser, then they’ll find a pattern which is really interesting, then they’ll make their data system go and find all the things which are like that pattern (which is actually doing a query, but they’ll not realize it), then they’ll be in data mode with tables and doing statistical analysis, and in that statistical analysis they’ll find an interesting object which has a home page, and they’ll click on that, and go to a homepage and be back on the Web again.
So the web of linked data and the web of documents actually connect in both directions, with links.
MacManus, Richard. “ReadWriteWeb Interview With Tim Berners-Lee, Part 2: Search Engines, User Interfaces for Data, Wolfram Alpha, And More…” ReadWriteWeb, 9 July 2009. Web. 9 July 2009.
Eric Frierson, a librarian at the University of Texas, Arlington, wrote recently about an interesting way to engage library staff about core issues:
A couple of weeks ago, I sent out an e-mail to the library inviting them to join me on something I called ‘TED Talk Tuesdays.’ If you haven’t been to ted.com, you should check it out. It features videos from leading thinkers in the technology, entertainment, design, business, science, and other fields – speakers are asked to give ‘the speech of their life’ in under 20 minutes.
So what is TED Talk Tuesday? It’s people in a room watching a TED Talk and spending the rest of the hour discussing how it impacts the library and each other at work. No discussion questions, no formal presentation, just watching a video and talking to each other.