The Future of the World-Wide-Web (AFF-604A)

world-wide-web-25-years-super

This blog post is a continuation of a previous post regarding Data Standardisation, which can be found here

In my previous post on data standardisation, I explored the ins and outs of linked data and how searching the web can be improved via the implementation of Linked Data concepts and online search resources such as DBpedia. The applications of such constructs are indeed manifold, and the recognition of their usefulness is evidenced in their evolution. The development of such resources and the enhancement of what we can do with data means that the Web itself is constantly going through a metamorphosis. The World Wide Web as a title is self-descriptive of this process; it suggests a hierarchic and organic system through which data, concepts, and ideas are spread with an immediacy and logic that has fueled its aforementioned implementation into every facet of 21st century culture. There is an openness and in-exhaustiveness to the Web that allows it to continue to develop as an informational network. The ascent of search engine technology since the mid 90’s such as Google, Yahoo, etc. is indicative of an everyday or mainstreamed way to search the web.

As mentioned in my previous post, the applications for RDF search engines in presenting the user with more detailed and cross-referential search results cannot be ignored. Querying languages such as SPARQL allow databases such as DBPedia to search URI’s across databases on the internet and allow the tracing of relationships between data. Berners-Lee et al. describe this huge database of entity-relationships as a “global data space on the web containing billions of triples” (Berners-Lee et. al 2008). They mention herein the challenges that such applications face, such as broadening the scope of such resources beyond large static wells of data, but also the beneficial aspects of creating uniformity of access between systems. If the use of Linked Data is seen somewhat as the future for how we search for and trace data, there is some contention to some of its principles. One of these is the very nature of how some of the relationships between pieces of data in a given ontology works. With scientific data, this is not a problem as the very foundation of science is rooted in the objectivity of its data. The problem with describing entity relationships with the humanities is the subjective interpretations of its data. For example, where one user would describe a father as a subject, another user might have a different interpretation of what a ‘father’ actually is. The exploration of these issues at once draws upon a more philosophical debate, which demonstrates that trying to achieve consensus on such matters is not at all simple, and cannot be easily remedied.

In conclusion, the future of the World Wide Web is as unpredictable as any major trend or resource available to us. The advantages for the future of the further implementation of Linked Data on the web is at once a huge benefit and a huge question; where can it go from here?

References

Bateman, John A. “On the Relationship Between Ontology Construction and Natural Language: A Socio-Semiotic View”, Web, accessed 29/02/2016.

Berners-Lee, Tim et al. “The Semantic Web”, Web, accessed 29/02/2016.

Sendell, DM. “The Impact of Electronic Publishing on the Academic Community”, Web, accessed 29/02/2016.

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rbreen

MA Digital Humanities student in An Foras Feasa, Maynooth University. BA Music from Maynooth University.

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