Semantic Web and SXSW
Semantic Web is getting more and more attention, and here is an article from Austin Chronicle that mentions Juan Sequeda, one of the founders of Semantic Web Austin – a local group currently incorporating as a nonprofit. For those unfamiliar with the term Semantic Web, also called Web 3.0, Semantic Web means that the web understands the meaning of the content.
“One of the guiding principals of Web 3.0 thought, the “semantic” in “semantic Web” roughly refers to the ability of programs to crunch, mash, and analyze data themselves. To Sequeda, the data the city possesses has the potential for countless interesting and informative new applications: plotting 911 calls and crimes by neighborhood or pulling up the records of individual cab drivers, as coders have actually been able to do with data from the city of New York.
“Sometimes cities don’t even know what kind of data they have,” says Sequeda. What he wants the city to consider in the redesign is recording and publishing data in one standardized format – “linked data,” in the vocabulary of the Web standards-setting World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – where it can be easily mined, instead of recording it across a disparate mix of formats such as PDF, HTML, and so on. To show the value, Sequeda hopes to host a “code-a-thon” by the summer, to “get developers together over the weekend” to build apps out of sets of city data. That way, they can come back and say, “With 10 data sets, look at all these cool apps.” Imagine what they could do with more.”