Twenty years ago today, Tim Berners-Lee wrote his original proposal for a better kind of linked information system. He was doing consulting for CERN in Switzerland, and found that its communication infrastructure was leading to information loss. So he proposed a solution using something called Hypertext. This led to the Hypertext Markup Language, or, as it’s more commonly known now, HTML. That in turn, led to the World Wide Web.
Were you around to see all these changes? I certainly was, and I definitely remember the trouble I had teaching teachers the concept of the WWW, what it might do for learning, and how to go about using it. Navigation nightmare – that’s what it was! But now we all use the Net for stuff – and mostly we incorporate it into our learning experiences for our students, albeit badly at times. But the argument is won and we have moved onto the whole new media thing – and the relevance of connectedness.
So what’s next?
In the TED Talk below Tim Berners-Lee provides insight into developments that will power the semantic web, and the basis for it’s development which is rooted in linked data. Way back in 2006 Tim was already writing about ‘linked data‘ which no doubt explains the advances made in subsequent years in semantic web research. As he explained then
The Semantic Web isn’t just about putting data on the web. It is about making links, so that a person or machine can explore the web of data. With linked data, when you have some of it, you can find other, related, data.
Now we understand the potential of the semantic web differently and the implications are profound. You must read The Future of Federated Search: Muriel doesn’t search, but DFAST does, by Lee LeBlanc. This will give you a ‘picture’ of what might be – in a way that we can understand. I would never have understood what Tim was trying to explain in his original proposal for the web. But now I understand virtual environments and crave interoperability and interactivity 24/7! I won’t be contributing to the evolution any time soon, like the folks over at LinkedOpenCommunity at W3C SWEO Community, but I sure am grateful for their efforts!
A couple of snippets here, then watch the video
Our information seeking behaviors will come to be shaped by the information we seek. Devices and the access channels we seek information through will further define our search behaviors. The computer is only one of these devices; interaction search technologies another.
In 1995, a user expended time searching; in 2035, a user spends precious time thinking -differently. The days of sitting in front of a dumb search box are over. Users no longer pound the keys in frustration getting zero results or billions or results. How will this happen?