Tim Berners-Lee spoke on the Semantic Web at Edinburgh University last night. I last saw him in Toronto in 1999. That time, he was a tiny dot in the distance in a huge theatre at WWW8;* this time, I was down in the front row—because no-one else sat there—a few feet away. A geekish thrill, perhaps, but still exciting. This was a better talk; I liked his underground map showing how a web of RDF resources would join up related pieces of information. Got me wondering how all this might end up working with folksonomy. Maybe not so well: it’s one thing to build an RDF converter on top of a database of automatically generated scientific or weather data, another to ask Flickr users to tag every image with dozens of appropriate URIs. We need digital cameras with built-in GPS to tag photographs with latitude and longitude as easily as time and date.

* WWW15 (a.k.a. WWW2006) will be here in Edinburgh next May, and the closing date for papers isn’t far off. Yet more to pile onto my list of things to do, which is already so overloaded that I hardly have time to post here about the things I’m doing. Maybe on the weekend.

23 September 2005 · Net Culture