The Semantic Web is a Web of data. There is a lot of data we all use every day, and it's not part of the Web. For example, I can see my bank statements on the web, and my photographs, and I can see my appointments in a calendar. But can I see my photos in a calendar to see what I was doing when I took them? Can I see bank statement lines in a calendar? Why not? Because we don't have a web of data. Because data is controlled by applications, and each application keeps it to itself.
The vision of the Semantic Web is to extend principles of the Web from documents to data. Data should be accessed using the general Web architecture using, e.g., URI-s; data should be related to one another just as documents (or portions of documents) are already. This also means creation of a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries, to be processed automatically by tools as well as manually, including revealing possible new relationships among pieces of data.
Semantic Web technologies can be used in a variety of application areas; for example: in data integration, whereby data in various locations and various formats can be integrated in one, seamless application; in resource discovery and classification to provide better, domain specific search engine capabilities; in cataloging for describing the content and content relationships available at a particular Web site, page, or digital library; by intelligent software agents to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange; in content rating; in describing collections of pages that represent a single logical “document”; for describing intellectual property rights of Web pages (see, eg, the Creative Commons), and in many others.
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