Semantic Web

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with our Teacher-Consultant for libraries updating the subscriptions database page available from our Student Reference Portal.  The SRP is the default opening page for all of the students in our district.  It was designed to give quick and easy access to meaningful resources for them rather than typing long URLs or searching anytime you want to find things.  It’s not all-encompassing, to be sure – we have Google or Yahoo! for that.

The Subscriptions Database is our attempt to direct students and teachers to resources that have been licensed by the District, the Ministry of Education, and more recently, the Knowledge Ontario initiative.  These databases are commercial, are authoritative, and the sort of thing that teachers will accept as sources for research and quotation in articles.

There are some assumptions that are made when you use resources of this type.  The are predicated on the assumption that you know a certain amount about what it is that you’re searching for.  You don’t sit down and browse an encyclopaedia.  You generally have a concept in mind and you’re looking for facts.  In that respect and for those uses, these resources are great.  Normally, there’s a charge for access, but for students and teachers, someone else is picking up the tab.

They are very supportive of some of the traditional goals of education, research, and report writing.  The internet opens up a whole different perspective on research though.  There’s just SO much information available that folks are looking at different ways to work the web for information.  I’m starting to focus on the “Semantic Web” and its implications.  A quick video explains a bit.

Intro to the Semantic Web

In support of my attempts to get my head around this, I have installed the Operator plug-in into my browser to try to get a handle on things.  At this point, I’m just exploring.  I’m not quite sure where I’m headed with this.

I really like the concept though……

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