05 11 / 2007

MIT Technology Review, 29 October 2007 in an article entitled, “The Semantic Web Goes Mainstream,” reports that a new free web-based tool called Twine (by Radar Networks) will change the way people organize information.

Semantic Web—“a concept, long discussed in research circles, that can be described as a sort of smart network of information in which data is tagged, sorted, and searchable.”

Clay Shirky, professor in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University says. “At its most basic, the Semantic Web is a campaign to tag information with extra metadata that makes it easier to search. At the upper limit, he says, it is about waiting for machines to become devastatingly intelligent.”

Twine—“Twine is a website where people can dump information that’s important to them, from strings of e-mails to YouTube videos. Or, if a user prefers, Twine can automatically collect all the web pages she visited, e-mails she sent and received, and so on. Once Twine has some information, it starts to analyze it and automatically sort it into categories that include the people involved, concepts discussed, and places, organizations, and companies. This way, when a user is searching for something, she can have quick access to related information about it. Twine also uses elements of social networking so that a user has access to information collected by others in her network. All this creates a sort of ‘collective intelligence,’ says Nova Spivack, CEO and founder of Radar Networks.”

“Twine is also using extremely advanced machine learning and natural-language processing algorithms that give it capabilities beyond anything that relies on manual tagging. The tool uses a combination of natural-language algorithms to automatically extract key concepts from collections of text, essentially automatically tagging them.”

A recent article in the Economist described the Semantic Web as follows:

“The semantic web is so called because it aspires to make the web readable by machines as well as humans, by adding special tags, technically known as metadata, to its pages. Whereas the web today provides links between documents which humans read and extract meaning from, the semantic web aims to provide computers with the means to extract useful information from data accessible on the internet, be it on web pages, in calendars or inside spreadsheets.”

So whereas a tool like Google sifts through web pages based on search criteria and serves it up to humans to recognize what they are looking for, the Semantic Web actually connects related information and adds metadata that a computer can understand.
It’s like relational databases on steroids! And, with the intelligence built in to make meaning from the related information.

Like a human brain, the Semantic Web connects people, places, and events seamlessly into a unified and actionable ganglion of intelligence.

For User-centric EA, the Semantic Web could be a critical evolution in how enterprise architects analyze architecture information and come up with findings and recommendations for senior management. Using the Semantic Web, business and technology information (such as performance results, business function and activities, information requirements, applications systems, technologies, security, and human capital) would all be related, made machine readable, and automatically provide intelligence to decision-makers in terms of gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities—pinpointed without human intervention. Now that’s business intelligence for the CIO and other leaders, when and where they need it.

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