[microformats-discuss] FYI: two posting about the Semantic Web, the "SynWeb", scraping and microformats

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar drernie at opendarwin.org
Mon Oct 24 14:53:56 PDT 2005

Hi Jacob,

On Oct 24, 2005, at 1:46 PM, Jacob Ham wrote:
> Can anyone recommend any books to catch up on "the vision" of a  
> semantic web?  I have gone over some of W3C's RDF stuff, and a  
> couple other things on the web.  But from what I have gone over  
> (not much), the complexty of the system make its hard to imagine to  
> be implimented by the normal web developer (not trying to degrade  
> web developers, but question the specifcation).

Well, that's why microformats were invented, because most of us  
couldn't figure it out either. :-)

> Recommendations?

IMHO, the whole point of microformats is to make it easier for  
machines to *extract* semantics from human-readable code.   The best  
way to get the vision is to install FireFox and run the GreaseMonkey  


That made much more sense to me than a roomful of documents. :-)

Now imagine a world full of tools like that, extracting all sorts of  
structured data directly off of human-readable web pages, allowing  
them to be stored, remixed, and re-presented in different formats.

That's the (lowercase) semantic web, microformat-style.

The official "Semantic Web" is pretty much the same, except populated  
entirely by machines. :-(

Unfortunately, for that we first need to create a machine smart  
enough to build the entire Web by itself.  For some reason, humans  
hate having to work for machines. :-)

-- Ernie P.

> Cheers,
> Jake
> On 10/24/05, Tantek Çelik <tantek at cs.stanford.edu> wrote:
> On 10/24/05 9:43 AM, "Danny Ayers" <danny.ayers at gmail.com> wrote:
> > [1] http://dannyayers.com/2005/09/cake.gif
> There are just soooooo many things wrong with that diagram that  
> it's hard to
> know where to start criticizing.  In fact, not sure it is worth  
> criticizing,
> so I'll just point out the only pieces that I think make at least some
> amount of practical sense:
> * URI (and even then I'm starting to dismiss URNs are mostly  
> academic, thus
> leaving only URLs),
> * Unicode (I admit, because of my last name I'm biased here)
> * XML (a reasonable foundation, even if XML+tidy works better in  
> practice)
> The rest are best left to academics IMHO.
> Thanks,
> Tantek
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Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D. <drernie at opendarwin.org>
Ex-Physicist, Marketing Weenie, and Dilettante Hacker
Probe-Hacker blog: http://www.opendarwin.org/~drernie/

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