The Semantic Web Acid Test

Tom Heath writes a cracking post on the current attempts by a few people to brand web applications that happen to perform text analysis as "Semantic Web". For me, this nails it:

I certainly notice plenty of unjustified attempts at present to co-opt the term Semantic Web, now that it’s no longer a dirty word, and drive it off down some dodgy alleyway. Some of these products, services or companies may be applications or services that use some semantic technology and are delivered over the Web, but that doesn’t make them Semantic Web applications, services or companies. Anything claiming the Semantic Web label needs to get its hands dirty with Linked Data somewhere along the way. That’s just how it is.

Tom's right. These attempts to label some pretty run-of-the-mill web applications as Semantic Web suggests to me that the marketers are seeing the Semantic Web meme as carrying some useful currency. The problem they face is that the Semantic Web has some well-defined principles that can be used as tests. Here's the first test: if you see one of these applications find one of its pages describing something that's useful to you (e.g. a place or a person) and ask yourself "what's the URI of the thing this page is describing?".


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