Pages: pp. 145-148
The Semantic Web has recently emerged as a new and highly promising context for knowledge and data engineering. Within an atmosphere of high expectations, many myths as well as many visions have exhibited a number of different approaches for the exploitation of the Semantic Web in both academia and industry. However, a struggling business reality requires a concrete strategy as well as the development of specific competencies from the knowledge and data engineering community in order to prove the value of the Semantic Web to society.
For three years, we have undertaken a significant effort to cultivate the Semantic Web vision in the computer science, information systems, and Semantic Web communities through the Special Interest Group on Semantic Web and Information Systems of the Association for Information Systems (AIS, see http://www.aisnet.org [ 1], [ 8]). We have emphasized the benefits of the Semantic Web merits in different application contexts, including digital libraries, e-government, knowledge management, health care, and e-learning [ 3], [ 4], [ 5], [ 6]. One of the most fascinating aspects of our effort is the exchange of ideas with people that come from different disciplines, which has led us to arrive at the conclusion that the Semantic Web adoption requires the convergence of many different disciplines; this is illustrated in Fig. 1.
Figure Fig. 1. Illustration of Semantic Web adoption.
It is more than obvious that, after an early stage of evolution, Semantic Web research has reached a first level of maturity. Most significantly, some "voices" of criticism or questioning for the pace of the change that Semantic Web brings to traditional knowledge and data engineering have initiated a new stream of innovations. The concept of semantics [ 2] and its capacity to support a new era of applications challenges the traditional perceptions for the never-ending journey of computing. Knowledge and data representation and retrieval require new conceptual models and the move to a human Semantic Web vision seems more timely than ever. After the initial enthusiasm and excitement following the launch of the Semantic Web vision, a time of significant problems, unexploited opportunities, and slow adoption followed. Knowledge and data engineering had to meet several diverse and high demanding requirements for the realization of the Semantic Web. In numerous international efforts as well as in various research and competence centers of the Semantic Web, there is now a continuous effort to reach the point for a real "take-off" of the Semantic Web. It looks like an entire research community is looking for the last step before the breaking of the "wall." And, this wall is associated with all the inefficiencies of the traditional Web, and with a panacea for the solution of all the knowledge-related performance gaps.
For the past one and a half years, we have been working hard, with the support of a large number of reviewers, on the development of an excellent quality TKDE special issue on the Semantic Web. From the beginning, our motivation was based on a clear belief that the Semantic Web represents a key milestone for the knowledge and data engineering community. While the Semantic Web is often considered to be a machine-intensive/oriented theme, our key argumentation is that Semantic Web is a Human manifesto [ 7]. The fundamental social and political impact of the Semantic Web is derived from the fact that its underlying technology supports a shift of social interaction patterns from "knowledge push" to "knowledge pull" [ 7]. This includes the shift
The technical reason for enabling such shifts is not that machines can understand what we talk about, something they will, of course, never be able to do, but the fact that on the Semantic Web, machines are able to decide whether or not we are talking about the same thing. Hence, a more semantically correct name for the Semantic Web would be something like the "Identity Conflict Resolvable Web." This property of the Semantic Web enables the information about the information (i.e., the metadata) to become as distributed as the information itself. This makes it possible to move from "opinion registration," which is the basis of knowledge push, to "opinion publication," which is the basis of knowledge pull. This is the "root cause" from which the social and political power of the Semantic Web originates.
Our special issue has a three-fold integrated contribution:
The high-quality publication standards of the IEEE TKDE were taken into consideration in the total spectrum of the development process of the Semantic Web special issue. The final acceptance of 14 research papers out of 60 submissions, after three very intensive and focused rounds of blind review and with the support of almost 200 capable reviewers, concludes an intellectual task that we have carried out with passion and inspiration. The accepted papers in this special issue fall into two categories:
We do believe that this collection of papers is an excellent contribution to the literature of the Semantic Web. We are happy to finalize this special issue and we are really looking forward to your comments. We invite you to work together to develop all of the required bridges between the knowledge and data engineering community and the business world in order to provide the required common ground for exploiting the fascinating technologies of Semantic Web for the promotion of the Knowledge Society. A convergence of computer engineering and management/business strategies will set the Semantics of Business as a key priority for the next years.
Our deepest appreciation and respect goes to Professor Xindong Wu, Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, who gave us the opportunity to serve our community, and for his continuous commitment and contribution to a mutual vision. We wish him health, prosperity, creativity, and well-being. Special thanks to Suzanne Werner, Peer Review Supervisor, for all the great support during the tough development process of this special issue. We would also like to thank the academics and practitioners who contributed their excellent research work to this special issue. Their knowledge, expertise, imagination, and inspiration are evident in every line of this issue. Last, but not least, we are grateful to the 200 reviewers who, with their comments and guidance, helped us to reach an excellent level of quality.