Monday, October 01, 2007

Web 3.0 Librarian

My colleague Dean Giustini and I have collaborated on an article, The Semantic Web as a large, searchable catalogue: a librarian’s perspective. In it, we argue that librarians will play a prominent role in Web 3.0. The current Web is disjointed and disorganized, and searching is much like looking for a needle in the haystack.

It's not unlike the library before Melvil Dewey introduced the idea of organizing and cataloguing books in a classification system. In many ways, we see the parallels here 130 years later. It's not surprising at all to see the OCLC at the forefront in developing Semantic Web technologies. Many of the same techniques of bibliographic control apply to the possibilities of the Semantic Web. It was the computer scientists and computer engineers who had created Web 1.0 and 2.0, but it will ultimately be individuals from library science and information science who will play a prominent role in the evolution of organizing the messiness into a coherent whole for users. Are we saying that Web 2.0 is irrelevant? Of course not. Web 2.0 is an intermediary stage. Folksonomies, social tagging, wikis, blogs, podcasts, mashups, etc -- all of these things are essential basic building blocks to the Semantic Web.

1 comment:

דניאל ליפסון said...

I (as a librarian) found the article and the whole topic very important. I especially enjoyed the conclusion. You wrote that "Web 3.0 is about bringing the miscellaneous back together meaningfully after it's been fragmented into a billion pieces."
I was wondering if in your opinion this means that the semantic web may turn a folksonomy into some kind of structured taxonomy. We all know the advantages and disadvantages of a folksonomy. Is it possible for web 3.0 to minimize those disadvantages and maybe even make good use out of them?