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Semantic Desktop Paves the Way For the Semantic Web

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The European Union-funded Nepomuk project has developed innovative software to make finding and sharing information on a computer significantly easier, potentially solving the "chicken and egg" problem that has hindered the development of the semantic Web. Providing information with semantic data so that the content of the information is understood by machines has been called the next evolution of the Internet, ultimately giving more structure to the often chaotic Web. However, the deployment of the semantic Web has largely stalled because there is little incentive to create semantic content when there are so few services and applications that could capitalize on its use. Nepomuk project researchers aimed to bring semantic information closer to the user, focusing on how it can help people find and structure information on their personal computers, and share that information with other users, instead of on the traditional area of how semantic information can be used on the Web. "In making data and connections between data easy to find and identify, the semantic desktop gives people a very personal motivation to start annotating their information," says Nepomuk coordinator Ansgar Bernardi. "The next logical step is for that information to be shared, and you therefore have a starting point for the semantic Web." Nepomuk's desktop solution allows users to give meaning to documents, contact details, pictures, videos, and a variety of other data stored on a user's computer, regardless of file format, application, or language, making it easier and quicker to find information and identify connections between different items. When information is added, the Nepomuk software asks users to annotate the information so it can be correctly situated, and it also crawls the user's computer to search for information and establishes connections between different items.

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