The article “Understanding New Web Era: Web 3.0, Linked Data and Semantic Web” (2009) is a well-organized article, which elaborates and interprets three trends from a serious of Greg Boutin’s posts. The writer explains each of the trends in a separate section, which is very helpful for us to follow. One of the difficulties I have when I read this article is that there are many basic concepts need clarifying. So first, I will go through some key concept the article mentioned quickly.
- Structured data and unstructured data
According to Duncan Pauly, when we talk about the structured data, “there are at least three orthogonal aspects to structure”:
The structure of the data itself.
The structure of the container that hosts the data.
The structure of the access method used to access the data.
These three dimensions are largely independent and one does not need to imply another. For example, it is absolutely feasible and reasonable to store unstructured data in a structured database container and access it by unstructured search mechanisms.”
The term “unstructured data” refers to information that either does not have a pre-defined data model and/or does not fit well into relational tables. Unstructured information is typically text-heavy, but may contain data such as dates, numbers, and facts as well, which leads to a difficult of processing through the traditional computers. The prevalent way of dealing with unstructured data is text analysis, and manual tagging. Examples of “unstructured data” may include books, journals, documents, metadata, health records, audio, video, files, and unstructured text such as the body of an e-mail message, Web page, or word processor document, which means, the dominant contents the web user dealing with every single day.
In this article, the writer believes that Web 3.0 will feature with open and more structured data, which “makes the web more intelligent”. (filtering content, real-time data, personalization), while Web 2.0 features with user-generated contents and social applications.
2. Likend Data
It comes from the LOD (linked open data) project. On the homepage of this project, it is defined as:
“Linked Data is about using the Web to connect related data that wasn’t previously linked, or using the Web to lower the barriers to linking data currently linked using other methods. More specifically, Wikipedia defines Linked Data as “a term used to describe a recommended best practice for exposing, sharing, and connecting pieces of data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using URIs (uniform Resources identifiers) and RDF (Resource Description Framework).”
Two pieces of suggestion are given by Greg in regards to the linked data: one, invest more; two, mash it up with the other technologies.
3. Semantic Web
The Semantic Web is a collaborative movement led by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)[1 that promotes common formats for data on the World Wide Web. By encouraging the inclusion of semantic content in web pages, the Semantic Web aims at converting the current web of unstructured documents into a “web of data”. It builds on the W3C’s Resource Description Framework (RDF). The writer believes that Google will play an important role in the semantic web because it facilitates “search options” which allows the user customize their search results.
This article was posted in 2009, so now we can take a look whether these trends are going on.
First, the information load on internet is dramatically increasing due to the structuralizing the three items Duncan commented on. We can explain it by this way: we have all kinds of information on the web, and we put the information into different spaces we create in the cyberspace, and we access this information through different approaches. If we take a look at this process in a metaphor way, we can consider the information as books of different sizes; the cyberspace can be regarded as a box in which we can put dividers; the access method can be regarded as a way with which we grab these books. So if everyone has the same standard on identifying different sizes of the books, the same standard on dividing their spaces and the same standard on finding these books, the box will contain more books than when we just stuff a whole bunch of books of different sizes into a box.
Secondly, access to the information will be much easier, which is a natural result. A typical example of this is Twitter. People use the same language to arrange, organize and access information. However, I notice a trend that since it takes time to grasp this skill of using this language, more and more social media tends to give up this semiotic way to convey information. They try to lead a new way by conveying voice. A typical example is “Wechat”, which is an app on Apple products. I use it every single day to talk to my husband. It enables a real-time, free, confidential vocal talk through the social media, which is really fascinating. It means that the distance, in terms of time and space, between each other is zero. At the same time, it opens a door for the illiterate people to connect to the cyberspace.
To draw a conclusion, in my opinion, the web 3.0 is an ear when filtered information other than flocked information is accessed; the customized cyberspace other than uniformed cyberspace is created, the diversity other than uniformity is valued.