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Tim Berners-Lee: Machine-Readable Web Still a Ways Off


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World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee says the machine-readable Web is still a ways off and faces numerous obstacles. He says recent initiatives such as the U.S. government's Data.gov, specifically its spreadsheets and application programming interfaces, do not do enough to improve the reusability of data. There also are not enough commercial products available to easily transition Web sites to the Semantic Web.

Berners-Lee says data published online should be put in the Resource Description Framework (RDF). However, he says few Web site managers are trained in RDF, and few Web development applications use the standard, so semantic Web enthusiasts need to reach out to the rest of the world to encourage its adoption.

The use of RDF should not require building new systems, or changing how site administrators operate, according to Berners-Lee. Instead, scripts can be written in Python, Perl, or other languages to convert data in spreadsheets or relational databases into RDF for end users. Berners-Lee says the Semantic Web's complexity is partially responsible for its slow uptake, and he notes that supporting RDF "is still remarkably difficult as a paradigm shift."

From Government Computer News
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