Volume 2, Number 5 The Metaverse Assembled April 2010 Editor-in-Chief
Over the past 20 years, governmental use of Web-base information and technologies has continually expanded taking advantage of the Web's vast, everexpanding volumes of browser-accessible information. Now, it infuses two new technologies, the first one espousing a world where semantic-powered applications become knowledgeable assistants for Web users. The second new technology takes a perceivably flat two-dimensional approach to presenting current Web-content and adds a three-dimensional
... dimensional perspective to the presentation. Welcome to the Semantic Web as seen through the eyes of a Virtual World participant, an environment where Web users no longer are browsing for information that is largely static, where Web users interact through their proxies (avatars) query applications (Web agents) soliciting them to collect, filter, verify, correlate and present answers to their queries often in a more visually palatable three-dimensional format. Following a brief overview of these two technologies, this article presents several of the key force drivers behind their evolution and the benefits gleaned from their collective use. Further discussion identifies new methods for visualizing semantic content in virtual worlds. Finally, as with any technological evolution, the merge of these two technologies brings on a whole new set of challenges from a Web user's perspective as well as perspectives from technology developers both in academia and government.