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Re: <nettime> Critique of the "Semantic Web"
David garcia on Wed, 19 Dec 2007 15:33:45 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Critique of the "Semantic Web"


Thanks you Florian for helping to clear up this fog of conflicting
terminologies.

For those of us less confident in the realm of automated search and
classification. I wonder if you could address the current status of the
Dewey Decimal Classification system in this context?

It's value in physical libraries was that it is not spatial but relational
(it is indirect not a direct reference to a book's location).  So you are
not told where to go but where the book is in relationship to other books.

For some of us setting out on knowledge journeys before the era of search
engines might like me have found this very 19th century method of
classification - which combined a numbering system with classification by
topic very valuable as a mode  of orientation, Neither cosmology nor
ontology.  It is still going  strong today as its rough categories seem to
have  been remarkably scalable given the vast number of new subjects have
been comfortably accommodated.

So despite Borges's wonderfully poetic puncturing of the folly and  hubris
in taking our categoristions of knowledge too seriously, some  standardized
relational way of mapping our knowledge landscape seems to work quite  well
in practice for physical libraries.  So I guess I am asking is whether the
"Semantic web" is an attempt to do a Dewey Decimal Classification for the
"era
of the web.  And (if this assumption is not mistaken) given the continued
value and robustness of Dewey  why we must assume that this effort will be
futile?

I am sure that I am asking a very naive questions, but for those of  us who
are unsure how automated search differs in principle from searching for
things  in libraries the distinction between DDC and automated search
technologies and (further) how this relates to the ambition of the semantic
web efforts might be illuminating.

Once again thanks.

David Garcia


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