Catching the next wave was the title of my opening track keynote presentation in the “Catching the semantic wave – or down in a sea of content?” session of the “Order out of chaos – creating structure in our information universe” track at the Online Information Conference 2008. Presentation below from Slideshare.
This is a very well attended track. Standing room only in most of the sessions, great interest in the Semantic Web, Web 2.0, and associated concepts and technologies. From a lightly attended single session last year, this topic has grown in to an over subscribed 2nd track this year. Having spent some time bending the ear of conference chair Adrian Dale last year about what was upcoming, I can wear my virtual I told you so hat with pride this year.
My job as keynote was to provide a broad introduction to, and context for, things like Linked Open Data, the Semantic Web, Cloud Computing and clouds of data, setting the scene for the day. Hopefully I was successful in my objective, the number of attendees is definitely a measure of the interest in the topics covered.
Considering that a large proportion of the attendees of the conference are librarians it is gratifying to note that they are already looking beyond the current Web 2.0 meme towards what will be washing over us next. Thinking about this, it is hardly surprising. The next wave is far more associated with data, metadata, linking and recommending, than the Web 2.0 meme of social networking, blogging and wikiing. Dare I say it out loud, but by generalisation librarians appear to be far more comfortable with the concerns of data than socially interacting.
I get the feeling that these concepts are going to get adopted in libraries far quicker than we would expect once they start to gain momentum. This would be helped if we could get past some of the terminology confusion. The main culprit in this confusion being between semantics/semantic analysis and the semantic web. The web of data, as against [or to be more correct in addition to] the current web of documents, is how I see the semantic web. A great example of the web of data in action is the Open Linking Data Project.