The Semantic What?

"The Semantic Web" is a really, really horrible name. I still don't have a real grasp of what the hell it is. I'm not an idiot, it's just not a clear name. Look, if you say "Web Services" I understand exactly what you mean: Use the web infrastructure to provide automated services. Easy to understand. Semantic Web? Well, I only really know about the word semantics from the expression "let's not argue about semantics" when two people are nitpicking about something that was said. To me, semantics means the "feeling" of a word - its jist. So what the hell is the semantic web? The feeling of the web? It's jist? Huh?

So today I saw ANOTHER reference to it and decided enough was enough. First I took a look at to see what the hell "semantic" really meant, because in this expression it seems out of context. What did I find? One of those self-referential definitions. Like "metadata" (data about data). Bleh:


adj : of or relating to the study of meaning and changes of meaning; "semantic analysis"

Okay. The "study of meaning" web? Huh? Okay, next I did a search on Google for the whole expression to see if that helped and found the W3C page on the matter which had this definition way up high:

Definition: The Semantic Web is the abstract representation of data on the World Wide Web, based on the RDF standards and other standards to be defined. It is being developed by the W3C, in collaboration with a large number of researchers and industrial partners.

"The Semantic Web is an extension of the current web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation." -- Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, Ora Lassila, The Semantic Web, Scientific American, May 2001

"Information is given meaning?" What the HELL does that MEAN!?!?! I'm losing the definition of the verb "TO MEAN"!! It's like when you say a word over and over again until it loses all connection with reality.

So that's it. I kinda get the idea. (Actually, no I don't.) But the Semantic Web people need to change their name 'cuz I just don't get it. Call it something for us dolts in the world who wonder what sort of mental masturbation this is all about... Is it categorization? The Categorizable Web? That makes sense to me, but I have a feeling that it's not exactly right.


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