Tagging and the Semantic web

Finally, semantic tagging can be defined as tagging for the semantic web. This involves tags that make use of RDF (Resource Description Framework) specifications or OWL (Web Ontology Language) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This also implies being used for public webpages that can be accessed with semantic web browsers, rather than merely internal enterprise or library products or services. As such, a tag is more than a term; it is an object with its own attributes. According to Rhind-Tutt, “The difference between semantic indexing and standard indexing is that the former does more than simply apply subjects to terms. It includes the addition of meta-data about tags that allows semantically indexed terms to interoperate with other similarly indexed terms.”

(This is discussed at more length in the blog post “Tagging and the Semantic Web”; see www.designmills.com/2008/05/

While social tagging can be made more semantic, we have to remember that social tagging is not always about pure findability. The social aspect is about identifying what other people have labeled as interesting or noteworthy, especially if there is a rating aspect in involved. For the semantic web, on the other hand, information findability is a major objective, as stated in W3C’s Semantic Web Activity Statement: “to create a universal medium for the exchange of data. It is envisaged to smoothly interconnect personal information management, enterprise application integration, and the global sharing of commercial, scientific and cultural data.”

Silverchair’s Zarnegar put it well: “Semantic tagging is best applied in areas when there is a qualitative ‘best answer’ to a user query (as opposed to a ‘most popular’ answer) … If you look at industries where semantic tagging (and structured data) have found a foothold (aviation, medicine, genetics, chemistry, and others) you’ll see they are not areas where you want to go too far with iffy information!”

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