Monday, January 29, 2007

Web 3.0

Okay - we're at the extreme reaches of my knowledge and understanding here, and the air is thin! You have been warned.

This article
appeared in the Daily Yomiuri last week. It attempts to identify Web 3.0, a task about which it says, "The first thing to understand about Web 3.0 is that there is little general agreement about what it really means, even among the experts". A blogger in my blogroll recently dipped a toe in this water recently - I could have sworn it was Vicki Davis, but I now can't find the post. However, this is a topic that has had a fair amount of coverage in the blogosphere lately. Check out the following posts, some of which overloaded the wiring in my low voltage brain:

Wikipedia, it seems, has different ideas - the Web 3.0 page has been "deleted, and protected to prevent re-creation." Who got to make that call, I wonder?

I might be wa-ay off beam here, but it seems to me that metatagging is going to play a huge role in 3.0. But surely metatags are applied by the people who publish the material, and who's to say that the material they publish is accurate - or event that the metatags are appropriate?

At the moment, when I want to know something, I type in keywords and get a list of publications which contain those words - even when they don't actually relate to each other in any meaningful way. Under this system, I briefly scan the most promising looking of these and decide for myself, based on a process I couldn't begin to understand, let alone describe (but which may well have something to do with George Siemens's theory of connectivism) whether the material is valid and reliable.

From what I hear, in 3.0. I should be able to type in a question, rather than a series of keywords. What I'm not quite clear on is whether 3.0 is going to present me with a shorter list of publications, each of which is an accurate match to the context of my words or, whether it will go one step further and provide me with a definitive answer gleaned from the content of the sites trawled. To my limited imagination, the latter sounds like pie in the sky. The former sounds a big enough ask!

In order to be able to achieve the former, my search engine will have to make sense of my question, and align it accurately with the metatags of the published material online in order to make the matches. The latter would seem to require an in-depth grasp of content that I can't even begin to get my head around!

What worries me a bit is what will happen to the process of assessing material for validity and reliability. Having said that, at a stretch I can handle the idea of 3.0 handling validity, but reliability?

Hoo boy - I see another steep learning curve looming on the horizon!


Anonymous said...

Hi Karyn,

Metatags don't have to be added by the publisher (cf. tagging). In fact, Stephen Downes has been promoting the idea that user-generated tagging is far more useful than any metadata applied by the publisher.


Anonymous said...

Point taken. However, sometimes, especially since the advent of Web 2.0, the two are one and the same. Either way, the argument stands: "who's to say that the material they publish is accurate - or event that the metatags are appropriate?"

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

Hey, Karyn --
It was this post that you were referring to, but I know that there are a lot of people now discussing the semantic web!

I think it is kind of like the progression that blogging has made -- now anyone can blog. But searching finesse is still to those who understand a little Boolean -- it is about being able to ask a question and using some sort of artificial intelligence, having the search engine - "Figure out" what you're asking for. At least that what it means to me!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Vicki. That's exactly the post I was thinking of!