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Toward the Semantic Web


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W3C Semantic Web logo

Credit: W3C

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recently published the Rule Interchange Format (RIF), a new standard that should help bring the idea of the Semantic Web closer to reality. RIF gives Web programmers a way to write rules for translating between data on different sites.

Web rules can have a variety of uses depending the application. For example, a retailer could use the rules to develop programs for sorting through its Web data about customers to offer specific services. "Part of the standards game is to have these very different use cases around the same table and then get one standard that can be used in all these different pieces of software," says W3C systems architect Sandro Hawke.

Although there are many ways to aggregate Web data, Hawke says the benefit of the Semantic Web is the ability to aggregate data you don't already know about. He also points out that if the RIF standard becomes widely adopted, it is likely to go unnoticed by most Web users. "They'll just notice the Internet doing more cool things," Hawke says.

From MIT News
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