Friday, May 23, 2008

Get on the Semantic Web Boat

All developers out there can start talking the Semantic Web language. In the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to get the top applications that the Semantic Web community is putting out there so people can start using. This is just a brief overview of what is out there, and it is up to you guys to start putting this in your websites, blogs, etc.

Remember that Yahoo announcement about their involvement in the Semantic Web? People have been expecting a killer app (maybe Twine?? ) But Yahoo said "Without a killer semantic web app for consumers, site owners have been reluctant to support standards like RDF, or even microformats. We believe that app can be web search." So if this is becoming the new trend of search, shouldn't the SEO people be concerned? Digg is on the Semantic Web boat by adopting RDFa in all there content.

But what is RDFa? Check out RDF first. Its the Semantic Web "data language" where all data is represented in a triple format, just like an English sentence: Subject-Predicate-Object, or for all you CS: its a labeled graph. So RDFa is a way of getting RDF content inside your HTML, XHTML and XML documents.

Anyways.. back to the SEO. Dapper is a new service that can "semantify" your website. With Dapper, you can create "dapps" to help create RDFa for your website. Now, all your content in your website will have semantic meaning and relationship, and will be accessible by semantic search engines. Digg is already doing this, so you guys don't want to be left behind. Get on the boat!

But what happens if my website is database-generated and you don't have a static html page to embed RDFa? Triplify can help. Initially for PHP, it is a small plugin that generates Semantic Web content (RDF). Another application is OpenCalais which automatically creates rich semantic metadata for the content you submit.

Three examples to get your web content on the Semantic Web. People, please!!! Don't hesitate. You have to get on the Semantic Web boat!

Well Austinites... it seems that most of you are already interested in RSS, RDF and Microformats. Lynn Bender from is organizing a series of events and he wants the first one to be about the Semantic Web! Why, I asked him. He said "I went through my database to find the largest group(s) of people whose topics of interest intersect and what came up was InfoArch, knowledge managment, rss/rdf/microformats anyway, I was looking for a one or two word locus that would attract those folks, and to a limited extent, they seem to have in common -- the semantic web."

I am really excited now. I just bought and and with John De Oliveira from Cyc Foundation, we are starting to organize the official monthly Semantic Web meeting in Austin. Together with Lynn, we will have our official kick-off next month. So keep your ears open!

In conclusion, your homework: Get on board the Semantic Web boat and come with questions for next month's Semantic Web Meeting. It's going to be a blast!


Kristine said...

Thanks for all of the tips and encouragement to join the bandwagon. As someone who has little knowledge of this entire realm, want to know if you could point me to "semantic web for dummies”. Does that exist?

Juan Sequeda said...

Oops. I was hoping that my post: "What is the Semantic Web" could be a Semantic Web for dummies. Apparently I need to work on that. The first article on the Semantic Web can give you a general overview of what the vision is: But this was written in 2001. 7 years later, there has been a big change. I am still seeking for the dummie tutorial, and also writing one myself.

Michael said...

Hi Juan,

I've read with interest your comments about the semantic Web. We (Sprylogics) recently launched a semantic search engine. We are based in Toronto and you can check it out at

I look forward to your thoughts.



Juan Sequeda said...

Hi Michael

Great to hear about more Semantic search engines. Have you guys published any papers in ESWC, ISWC or WWW? I'll email you my comments.

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