Kim H. Veltman

The First and Future Webs

First International Workshop on Information Science, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, 4-6 December, 2006, Brasilia, 2007 (In Press).


The metaphor of the Internet as a web emerged seriously in the 1960s when Paul Baran suggested that distributed networks offered more hope of survival in emergency and hostile situations than simple point to point networks, From this emerged the metaphor of the system as a cloud, invisible to all but the network operators. To this cloud were attached IP addresses that evolved into URLs, and visions of URNS and URIs. The introduction of HTTP/ HTML protocols by Tim Berners Lee and colleagues at CERN, which led the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) made the image of the World Wide Web into a household name. Several things have changed. Since 1990, the fixed Internet has grown from 1 million to 1000 million in 2005 and 86 million more in the first 9 months of 2006. English has dropped from 95% to 28%. Enormous increases in speed of operating systems, size of storage and speeds transmission have transformed our notions of E-Content. In the decades 1945-1970, the largest projects were under 100 books. In the past decades, projects of over 200,000 full text books have been finished and plans for 6 million and 14 million books have begun. Astronomy data is growing by 100s of Megabytes a day, a digital scale model of the entire earth is progressing and similar projects under the ocean are underway. As a result, the Internet, which started mainly as a small net among scientists in high energy physics, is now capturing very detailed knowledge about three traditional realms: the heavens (astronomy); earth (GPS, GIS, UMTS) and the “underworld ” (geology, oceanography).

Meanwhile, a vision of a Semantic Web is emerging that continues to address the earlier paradigm of the world wide cloud, as if the challenge of a web of trust lay primarily in determining the logical truth about identities via URLs, URNs and URIs within the born digital domain of the web. This paper examines briefly examples of earlier webs in order to suggest that the web needs to link to worlds beyond itself and to propose 12 concrete challenges for future visions of a semantic web.

Read full article "First-Future Webs"


         Presentation: First-Future Webs (Part A);
         Presentation: First-Future Webs (Part B);
         Presentation: First-Future Webs (Part C);
         Presentation: First-Future Webs (Part D1);
         Presentation: First-Future Webs (Part D2);
         Presentation: First-Future Webs (Part D3);
         Presentation: First-Future Webs (Part E).