Thursday, December 16, 2004

Review - Explorer's Guide to the Semantic Web

Explorer's Guide to the Semantic WebExplorer's Guide to the Semantic Web
by Thomas B. Passin

4 out of 5 stars

The semantic web is an intelligent web, that is, a web that can be intelligently used by computers. There are two things you need to know about the semantic web. First, it doesn't exist. Second, it may never exist. If this isn't enough information for you, and you want to look at what the future may hold in the area of an intelligent web, then I can't think of a better way to get an introduction to the technologies and ideas that may be part of the semantic web than by reading this book.

The author of the book takes the layers of the semantic web as proposed by the W3C and looks at each one in turn, skipping over the familiar XML and XML schema layers. The author starts with the RDF layer and gives one of the best explanations of RDF and RDF schema that you will find. RDF is the potential meta-data language of the semantic web and the author makes it clear and understandable. Other than XML, RDF is the most real layer of the W3C layer cake so this section is also the most accessible. The next chapter delves into ontology which is vaguer and less clearly defined. The chapter on web services seems a bit unnecessary except as how they fit into the semantic web. A chapter on how intelligent agents may work is included. The last section deals with how information may be verified for truthfulness and authenticity.

If you are interested in RDF then you may want this book just for that section. If you are interested in what the semantic web might look like then this book may be of interest. If you are looking for practical programming samples or ways to build intelligent agents then this isn't the book for you. This is an explorer's guide for those having no fear to tread into unknown waters. This part of the web is still uncharted but this book will help you learn what technologies may be used to fill in the missing pieces of the map.

This earned 4 stars on Amazon. The book is published by Manning.

The review can be seen on Amazon on My Amazon Reviews page.

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