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What are Semantics?

Semantics are information (meta-data) about the meaning of represented concepts.

This translation differs slightly from the one given by Hebeler:

“Semantic simply means meaning”.

Although both definitions differ slightly both are still focused on the same thing, data or meaning of data. Another translation to the term Semantic Web could be the ‘web of meaning’, this is the underlying concept to the technology, give meaning to the data on the web. As humans we are able to perform reasoning with data and deduce meaning from text, so why provide meaning to something a user can understand. As outlined above the idea is to provide meaning for the machines or computers, to understand and providing structure to the web.

“The Semantic Web is a web of data described and linked in ways to establish context or semantics that adhere to defined grammar and language constructs.”

To be able to succeed in this, data will need to be modelled using domain specific vocabulary. The vocabulary will need to be well defined, forming a knowledge representation of a given domain. Alesso and Smith, claim that the Semantic Web is a knowledge representation of linked data, allowing machine processing on a global scale.

The term knowledge representation is closely linked to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Both definitions outline the fact that data will need to be linked and have some form of describing the meaning. Taking into consideration the quote given by Tim Berners-Lee in our earlier post, Semantic Web: The Beginnings, one can say that the Semantic Web is not new technology but an extension of an existing technology. The concept is to build a data structure for the web to work on, translating the meaning of existing data into machine accessible code.