Status of the Semantic Web

Eric Miller, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead

SWANS, Washington, DC, USA
Slides are availiable at

7 April 2005

The World Wide Web Consortium

International consortium directed by Tim Berners-Lee

Mission: "Lead the Web to its full potential"

Hosts: MIT, ERCIM, Keio University

Defines Web standards: HTML, XML, Web Services, Semantic Web

W3C track record: building infrastructure to address technical and social needs of the Web

Semantic Web

Data Integration across application, organizational, community boundaries

Reduces the technical and social costs for effective integration of networked data at various scales

Wrapping, Enhacing the Existing Web

Web Evolution not Revolution

Exposing data hiding in documents, servers and databases

Machine Processible data on the Web

semweb connected

Semantic Web Technologies

Semantic Web foundation specifications RDF, RDF Schema and OWL are W3C Recommendations as of Feb 2004 (press release and testimonials)

Standardization work is underway in Query and Best Practices.

Moving from a Web of Document to a Web of Data

RDF Data Access Working Group

Gather requirements and define an HTTP and/or SOAP-based protocol for selecting instances of subgraphs from an RDF graph

The goal of this work is to help make it as easy to 'join' data on the Web as it is to merge tables in a local relational database.

Use Cases and Requirements

SPARQL Query Language, and SPARQL Protocol Working Drafts availiable

Best Practives and Deployment

Provide guidance, in the form of documents and demonstrators, for developers of Semantic Web applications.

Develop consensus best practices on ontology engineering guidelines, vocabulary development, educational material and demo applications.

Support initiatives for transforming selected high-visibility ontologies and thesaurii to OWL and RDF.

Semantic Web Standards

Open standards, commercial and open source and tools - technologies for modeling real world things; sharing these models across the Web.

Focus is on Web Evolution

Web Evolution causing a quiet data revolution

Nokia - Semantic Web enabled


Oracle - RDF Network Data Model

An RDF data model to store RDF statements

Java Ntriple2NDM converter for loading existing RDF data

An RDF_MATCH function which can be used in SQL to find graph patterns in RDF (similar to SPARQL)

Will be release as part of Oracle Database 10.2 later this year

Vodafone - Vodaphone Live Mobile Portal

Search application (e.g. ringtone, game, picture) using RDF

  • better search : page views per download decreased 50%
  • increased revenue : ringtone up 20% in 2 months

Bringing goods closer to customers increased sales

RDF was key factor in making this possible

IBM - Life Sciences and Semantic Web

IBM Internet Technology Group - focusing on general infrastructure for Semantic Web applications

Develop user-centered tools - power of Semantic Web technologies, but hide the underlying complexity

Integrated tool kit (storage, query, editing, annotation, visualization)

Common Representation (RDF), Unique identifiers (LSID), Provenance, Collaboration

Focus on Life Sciences; Potential for transforming the scientific research process

Adobe - XMP

XMP - eXtensible Metadata Platform; based on RDF

Fundamental technology for Adobe's strategy for metadata and information management

More effective organization; intelligent / automation workflows; improved productivity

Supported throughout Adobe Creative Suite, over 700K desktops

Support from 30+ major asset management vendors, on their metadata roadmap

Observations and Lessons Learned

(Smart) Data is King

Enabling more flexible, customized information services / products

"as needed" data integration

Things change, planing for it is cost effective

Future Directions



Future Directions


Education / Outreach


Lots of work done

Lots of work still to do (insert you here)

The Semantic Web is here

Additional information