What are Semantic Applications?

Semantic-aware applications infer the meaning, or semantics, of information on the Internet to make connections and provide answers that would otherwise entail a great deal of time and effort. New applications use the context of information as well as the content to make determinations about relationships between bits of data; examples like TripIt, SemaPlorer, and Xobni organize information about travel plans, places, or email contacts and display it in convenient formats based on semantic connections. Semantic searching is being applied for scientific inquiries, allowing researchers to find relevant information without having to deal with apparently similar, but irrelevant, information. For instance, Noesis, a new semantic web search engine developed at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, is designed to filter out search hits that are off-topic. The search engine uses a discipline-specific semantic ontology to match search terms with relevant results, ensuring that a search on "tropical cyclones" will not turn up information on sports teams or roller coasters.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Help students to federate, query, browse, and gather information from disparate internal and external sources of information. Rather than just identifying keywords and expressions (Google), the semantic web concentrates on indentifying the meaning of content. The implications for education are profound because they will impact on our information literacy strategies and knowledge construction processes.- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 4, 2012
  • This technology can make searching for educational information far more efficient than it is today. I think it will have teh most impact in the K16 envirnment rather than the graduate level, where more specialized knowledge (and libraries) are needed.- chris.brown chris.brown Mar 5, 2012

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Specific reference to semantic search as an emerging powerful learning tools for students. e.g. Wolfram Alpha http://www.wolframalpha.com/ - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 4, 2012

  • This may become more useful for educational purposes (it already has potentially great use for other purposes) when used in conjunction with federated content repositories and/or open universities where online library resources might be too expensive an option or unavailable.- chris.brown chris.brown Mar 5, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • The web will become our personal learning agent, identifying relevant information from any source that is semantically accessible, and providing an information synthesis tailored to our personal learning objective.- judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Mar 4, 2012
  • This will make search a much more targeted, efiicient activity. As such, it lends greatly to the productivity of teaching and learning. I am not sure how it might effect creative expresssion but I am sure it will.- chris.brown chris.brown Mar 5, 2012

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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