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March 20, 2008

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Tom Heath

Nitin, I don't really buy into this top-down/bottom-up Semantic Web distinction; more on that some other time. Either way though, I'd argue that you've misinterpreted TimBL's comments.

Tim is absolutely right that hand-crafted markup is unlikely to be the major source of Semantic Web data, but to interpret his comments as evidence that the Semantic Web will be "top-down" misses the point.

Much of the data will come from databases, but who will make this available if not the publishers themselves, who currently publish it in plain old HTML? They're not going to mark up all this data by hand; they'll roll their own scripts or use something like D2R Server (http://www4.wiwiss.fu-berlin.de/bizer/d2r-server/). Surely this counts as "bottom-up" Semantic Web.

I haven't listened to the Tim O'Reilly podcast, but based on how you report it the conclusion I draw is that the two Tims actually disagree. TimBL says something akin to "semantic markup from data publishers, pulled from their databases", whilst TimO says this is unlikely.

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