Monday, March 10, 2008

Levels of Semantic Information, Boundaries & Interaction

There are far too many collisions occurring on the information superhighway; information and data colliding, combining, losing identity and integrity. The traffic outlook today is grim. There is no effective traffic control or organization mechanism; routers and packet data flow are different than information flow control. Several years ago, the concept of the Semantic web was introduced by the founders of what we consider to be the Internet. It was understood back then that the torrent of information being made available online would soon become unmanageable unless some context was provided.

Context is shared meaning, in order words, Semantics. A lot of work has gone into developing semantic standards that enhance the ability to add meaning to resources available on the web or across any complex environment; examples include XML-based standards such as OWL and RDF. That begins to cover the realm of unstructured data or information, allowing us to build shared ontologies at multiples levels. In the realm of structured data, there is a proliferation metadata mechanisms already in place, some of those are capable of interfacing with semantic resource standards, others aren’t.

What does not yet exist are sets of community-developed, shared information and the ability to define interactions between resources within and across their boundaries under a variety of conditions. Any realistic adoption of this type of framework would necessarily include the ability to define overlapping Boundaries or Dynamic Sets based on real-time discovery or idiosyncratic needs. The key is making sure that one understands which Sets are more or less permanent (and this notion is subject to community consensus) and which ones are created for semantic mining (the near-term exploitation of resources within the dynamic set). This process is something that cannot and should not be managed by any one technology or software product – it does however require a shared capability. That capability involves the ability to define Formal and Dynamic Sets of meaning. Sets contain Semantic Information such as Ontologies, Taxonomies and Vocabularies.

Copyright 2008, Semantech Inc.

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