Social Web

J. Morato
 Incorporated contributions
S. Sánchez-Cuadrado, Y. Andreadakis (09/2009)
 Usage domain
Internet, Information Society, ICT
concept, resource
Web Social
 German Soziales Netzwerk


1. History of the term
2. Semantic Web and Social Web
3. Social Web and Semantic Web Comparison
4. Conversion of the folksonomies into more complex KOS

Social Web is a set of resources and practices that enable the users to socialize with each other. In the literature, Web 2.0 is usually employed as a synonym.

Also Web 2.0 is used to refer to the set of technologies focused on social interaction. Most of these tools are free.

 Web 2.0 is a platform, where users are the principal centre of attention; the user decides what to use and how to use it. Applications such as Flick or YouTube demonstrate the great acceptance and vitality of this platform. The approach is based on the involvement and  collaboration of users for the management of resources, using friendly and well designed user interfaces. The architecture of these applications permits to users to describe resources with tags.  In contrast to Semantic Web, this approach lacks a central authority to organize and standardize the way that the Web is managed, and hinders progress towards general acceptance by other software developers.

1. History of the term Web 2.0

Dale Dougherty from O’Reilly Media was the person that invented the term Web 2.0 at a conference with Craig Cline from MediaLive. During the speech on the evolution of the Internet they realized the numerous collaborative services that had emerged, as well as the will of the users to share resources. The term was affirmed in the 2004 Web 2.0 Conference; within one year the term Web 2.0 already had 10 millions references in Google, even though its significance remained vague. In contrast with the Semantic Web, its appearance was not in  response to a planned and coordinated effort, neither the assumption on behalf of the experts that the Web was evolving autonomously, was suggesting such a proposal.

2. Semantic Web and Social Web

Web 2.0 and Semantic Web (SW) are technologies with a great potential for the network and ultimately, for the final user. Both aim to improving the mechanisms for sharing information and resources. Frequently, Web 2.0 is presented as an intermediate stage to future Web 3.0 (called Semantic Web). Web 2.0 is oriented to persons, while the Semantic Web is oriented to applications; this stems from the fact that the first employs a free language and the latter a controlled language. Web 2.0 attempts to give the users a legible and usable semantic, while the Semantic Web projects the correct interpretation of the semantic for computer applications.

3. Social Web and Semantic Web comparison

To explain why the Social Web is more popular  than the Semantic Web, at the moment, we analyze and compare some characteristics between both webs according to different criteria. Some of them demonstrate that they treat the two concepts with different approaches.

At first glance, it could be assumed that both the Social Web and the Semantic Web could be in conflict. At the same time, though, they could be viewed as two complementary aspects of the Web which, by operating synergistically, could increase the potential of both.

Therefore, after questioning the reason for their mutual existence and why the Social Web has had such  success compared with the Semantic Web, it becomes evident that they treat two independent necessities as being equally indispensable.

4. Conversion of the folksonomies into more complex KOS

Some Web resources are under analysis for their evolution to KOS complexes, e.g. the folkontologies, which study evolution mechanisms starting from a folksonomy.


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Jorge Morato (27/9/2009)
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