Semantic Web or not Semantic Web

Dave talks about Tim Berners-Lee’s semantic web. Dave, I don’t think I get it either, but here’s my shot at another, complementary vision:

  1. The Manila API defines a message to consist of a bunch of things, including title, message body, potentially link and news item department, and other whatnots.
  2. The Blogger API defines a message to consist of a slightly different bunch of things, including a message body.
  3. With the semantic web, you could have data about both APIs living on a server somewhere, including how they map to each other. Then any Manila enabled tool could post to anything that supported the Blogger API, as long as the receiving tool was aware that the semantic mapping was out there somewhere.

Or, in a business context (well, the previous point was a business context too):

  1. My application deals in line items for a government contract.
  2. So does the government’s, except theirs structures line items completely differently — it views the important elements as the financial payment data, where I care about how the widgets are to be made.
  3. I’ve never done business with the government before, but if my system uses a semantic mark up that is available on the net and is mapped to the government’s system, I can send them a transaction marked up in my format and theirs will know how to interpret it without any extra coding.

I may be way off base here. But I’m presenting a poster at MIT’s Annual eBusiness Conference on Thursday and will hopefully get to talk to Tim about this in more depth (he’s speaking at lunch).