Make no mistake about it: The semantic web has been a success and that’s not about to stop now. That was essentially the message delivered by W3C Data Activity Lead Phil Archer, during his keynote address celebrating the semantic web’s ten years of achievement at last month’s Semantic Technology & Business Conference in San Jose.
After acknowledging that he’s heard it all about the semantic web being a failure, about it being rebranded as Linked Data and that being a failure too, he summed up those impressions in one distinctly British word: “Bollocks.” The list of successes ranged across the spectrum, from the use in federated data portals of the Data Catalog Vocabulary from the W3C’s Government Linked Data Working Group, to the 47-million triples strong Open Phacts pharmacology discovery platform, to all the job postings that come up on The Semantic Web Blog – including one recently for the J. Craig Venter Institute, named for the pioneer genomic researcher who sequenced the human genome, which is looking for a bioinformatics analyst with OWL expertise in his or her resume.
That’s just a taste of the many citations he offered of the semantic web’s successes to date, not least among them his own strong familiarity with Linked Data’s use in government, where the technologies, he said, are used “to make our government more efficient” by having one organization make an authoritative data set the others can link to to support data-sharing across agencies. (For the full view into Archer’s take on the semantic web’s successes, you can view the entire keynote here.)