The Semantic Web [chapter]

Christopher Walton
2006 Agency and the Semantic Web  
At the present time, the Web is primarily designed for human consumption and not for computer consumption. This may seem like an unusual state of affairs, given that the web is vast and mature computerized information resource. However, we must recognize that the computer is presently used as the carrier of this information, and not as the consumer of the information. As a result, a great deal of the potential of the Web has yet to be realized. This book explores the challenges of automatic
more » ... uter-based processing of information on the Web. In effect, we want to enable computers to use Web-based information in much the same way as humans presently do. Our motivation is that computers have a brute-force advantage over humans. Where we can gather and process information from a handful of Web-based sources, a computer may download and compare thousands of such sources in a matter of seconds. Nonetheless, despite the apparent simplicity of this task, there are a great many issues that must be addressed if we are to make effective use of this information. As a result, the automated processing of Web-based information is still in its infancy. In this book, we show how many different techniques can be used together to address this task. The automated processing of information on the Web is principally an issue of scale. There are many existing techniques in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that may be appropriate to the task. However, there are significant issues that must be addressed if we are to scale up these techniques for use on the Web. Therefore, we present a detailed overview of the current state of the art, with a particular emphasis on practical solutions. The methods and technologies that we present in this book are of importance to all computer practitioners, as they will shape the future evolution of the Web. To appreciate the challenges of computer-based consumption of Web-based information, we consider the following scenario. Suppose we are searching the Web for information on a specific ailment.
doi:10.1093/oso/9780199292486.003.0007 fatcat:zn63bbnyjfdx5obo2aoihcdnfy