Attempting to build the Semantic Web: The Ontological Approach


This paper won the 2007 RIT Institute Writing Contest in Technical Writing.

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When father of the Internet Tim Berners-Lee first envisioned the World Wide Web, he imagined it as “an information space, with the goal that it should be useful not only for human-human communication, but also that machines would be able to participate and help.” (1998, Introduction, para. 1) However, what amassed was a mess of poorly formed HTML documents boasting animated GIFs and information displayed without regard for meaning or context. What Berners-Lee was wishing for, and continues to wish for, is a better World Wide Web—a Semantic Web. This ultimate realization of the Internet’s potential is something that Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) are still working on. With millions of users and billions of documents, the web is constantly growing and evolving. The W3C hopes that it evolves into the Semantic Web—and that hope lies in something called an ontology. (Clark, 2002)