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Seven Steps to XML Mastery, Step 6: Employ the Semantic Web

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In terms of modern technology, the Web is actually a venerated oldster. Is it time for the younger set to take over, bringing newer and more powerful ideas? In the sixth step toward XML mastery, Frank Coyle discusses the facets of the semantic web, which just may be the Web of the future.
For more information about this series, start by reading Frank Coyle's introduction, Seven Steps to XML Mastery: About This Series.

What Is the Semantic Web?

The word semantic comes from semantikos, the Greek word for significant meaning. The vision of the semantic web is to infuse meaning to the innumerable pages, links, and resources that populate the World Wide Web. But, as with web services, we’re not just talking about meaning for humans, but meaning defined in a way that allows computers to search, collect, organize, and deduce information not explicitly laid out in a database or web page. The driving force behind the semantic web has been Tim Berners-Lee, who put the pieces in place in the 1990s to give us the Web as we know it today.

For all practical purposes, the Web is stupid. Web pages are built around HTML tags that describe how to render information in a browser, with practically no regard for what all that information means. Yes, there’s an HTML tag called meta that’s used to associate keywords with pages, but marketers seeking to appear high on Google’s search lists have packed the meta element with so many catchwords and phrases that the tag has lost all practical meaning.

In this, the sixth step on path to XML mastery, we’ll explore the semantic web by looking at some tools and technologies intended to take the Web to its next level of utility, to what some are calling Web 2.0.

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