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Should Computers Have Their Own Web Sites?


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Physicist Stephen Wolfram

Stephen Wolfram

encefalus.com

Organizations could use a new top-level domain (TLD), .data, to share data in a standard form, writes Stephen Wolfram, creator of the computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha, in a blog post.

Wolfram suggests that Web sites with a .data TLD would be read by computers and form a 'data Web' that would run in parallel to the existing Internet. For example, a Web site such as wolfram.com would be accompanied by wolfram.data, designed to be read by computers. A computer would be able to access and interact with the data while a human visitor only would be able to see a list of publicly available databases.

Wolfram notes that application programming interfaces (APIs) offer this kind of data sharing, but they can be hard to use because each organization's API is different. However, with a .data TLD, for example, the various programs behind price comparison Web sites could visit amazon.data, ebay.data and similar sites to find the best deals.

Commenters on Wolfram's blog have expressed concern about the lack of standardization in TLDs themselves. Although a subdomain such as data.wolfram.com might be more useful, he maintains that .data would give sharing data more prominence and help spread the idea of a data Web.

From New Scientist
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