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On the maturity of the Semantic Web

When I joined the R&D Department of the CTIC Foundation, 30 months ago, to research on the Semantic Web, I wasn't completely sure on the eventual success of this idea. Now I am. I don't know if it is going to radically change the way we use the web, but probably it is going to spread wide and bring us new amazing applications.

The semantic web is about to reach (or has already reached) the maturity level required to surpass the doors of the laboratories and to take off in the mainstream web. We now have ready-to-use languages for knowledge representation and knowledge extraction (RDF, RDFa, GRDDL), languages for vocabulary modelling (OWL, RDF-Schema, SKOS), and languages to query the data (SPARQL). The foundational ontologies (RSS, FOAF, Dublin Core, SIOC...) are available. Big RDF data repositories are blossoming as a result of translating existing data sources about music, bibliography, geographic places and even the Wikipedia. Basic infrastructure services, such as triplr, SWOOGLE, pingthesemanticweb, search engines, etc. are ready to build upon. There are some attempts to create semantic browsers, for instance Piggy Bank, Tabulator or Disco. And last but not least, the most common programming languages have libraries to develop semantic web applications.

I think we'll soon see new interesting applications which will benefit from all this infrastructure. After a few years of basic research, we are moving now into a more pragmatic stage. A web of linked data is emerging. I don't know if this fulfils the original vision of the Semantic Web, but surely it is a sign of success from my point of view.