8 Evolution not revolution

Looking at the chart in ‘Tagging the Think Tank’, these clusters reflect not only the different aims for the Thinktank, but the sheer breadth of potential that the Semantic Web may bring to the culture sector. From providing guidelines on implementing Semantic Web technologies and ontologies to releasing museum collections from the confines of the museum website, the Semantic Web has the potential to impact on and integrate into the museum both at the individual and sector level.

What became apparent through the open meeting of the Semantic Web Thinktank, however, was the diversity of approaches through which this may take place. One model, advocated by Nick and Jon, stems from their perceived need for museums to think of themselves as belonging to a sector, rather than as standalone institutions. As semantic interoperability makes increasingly more sound business sense it will in turn become increasingly necessary for the museum world to combine individual and local implementation with a broader strategic vision.

Both Jon and Nick also advocated looking outside of the culture sector to other big, credible information users, or even to other businesses with large quantities of stock to store and move around, in order to help the Thinktank compare how they developed descriptive norms, and then perhaps go on to develop their own position, recommendation or roadmap for the future.

The next workshop, taking place on October 13 2006 in Glasgow, will in fact focus on exactly this issue, entitled ‘Definition and Futures for the Semantic Web,’ it will begin the process of marshalling the diversity of definitions, interpretations, roles and models into a coherent vision.



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