Thursday, June 07, 2007

eWeek: Semantic Web Shows Convergence of Search and Data Integration

This week’s eWeek has an unusually lucid article explaining the Semantic Web. The article presents the Semantic Web as a way to tag information in a structured way and make it searchable via the Web. I think this oversimplifies a bit by leaving out the importance of the relationships among the tags, which are part of the “semantic” framework and what makes the queries able to return non-trivial results. But no matter—the article gives a clear description of the end result (querying the Web like a database), and that’s quite helpful.

From my personal perspective, it was intriguing that the article also quoted Web creator Tim Berners-Lee as stating "The number one role of Semantic Web technologies is data integration across applications." This supports my previous contention that search applications and data integration (specifically, data matching) tools are starting to overlap. Of course, I was coming at it from the opposite direction, specifically suggesting that data matching technologies would help to improve searches of unstructured data. The article is suggesting that a search application (Semantic Web) would help to integrate structured data. But either way, some cross-pollination is happening today and a full convergence could follow.

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