An Introduction to the Semantic Web

To begin to understand more of what semantic web is, we need to first take a look at what we understand by the word semantics. It’s often associated with ‘syntax’.

An Introduction to the Semantic Web

Let’s start you off with a little hypothetical, shall we? You are a regular person wondering if you could find some practice math questions for someone you are tutoring. You type in “math questions” in the search bar and receive some results which mostly surround basic algebra. All good? Now, let’s say you are a college student interested in learning more about calculus. For some background, let’s say you often browse the web for math topics related to calculus and visit other websites exploring topics within calculus. So now when you type, “math questions” on the search engine, this time, you would receive results pertaining more to advanced math.

This is the idea and goal of the semantic web. Now it all sounds pretty convenient but then again, what is the semantic web? ????

The semantic web is an extension that provides a common framework for data to be shared and reused across corporate and community boundaries. The goal is to make it easier for the user to find the needed information without the need for a complicated system.

To begin to understand more of what semantic web is, we need to first take a look at what we understand by the word semantics. It’s often associated with ‘syntax’.

Syntax is essentially the way a sentence or phrase is structured to get an idea across within a language while semantics is the meaning behind what you say, i.e, the meaning behind your syntax.

Let’s check an example to set our concepts clear.

“I love LetsUpgrade”

The syntax is the words used here and grammar within the sentence; the semantics is what it means, which is how much you enjoy learning and using LetsUpgrade’s services.

If you put “I ❤ LetsUpgrade” the syntax is different, but the semantics stays the same. The meaning would not change — the only thing that changed was the word “love”.

Now that we have our definitions and basics clear, let’s get back to computers. While the invention of the internet was extremely advantageous due to its ever-growing applications, it brought along with it a small but persistent problem. With the introduction of the internet, we have been able to get more connected as it helped us not only communicate but also stay more interconnected between networks and devices. We also have the web that helps us store and retrieve any document we want online and the search engines that can help us snoop through any website that we want. So what was the problem again?

The problem is that computers blindly do what we tell them to do. They don’t understand the meaning behind what we tell them. They understand syntax, not semantics.

However, with the addition of the Semantic Web, we can get computers to understand the intention behind our searches, what we’re looking for in a webpage, thus allowing them to know what we’re interested in and what we want. So now, computers can now understand the meaning behind what you say.

I, for one, am fascinated to know more about the different places it's being used already but I’m afraid that’s it for today. Perhaps some other day at LetsUpgrade.