Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Semantic search

The Read/WriteWeb has a great guest post by Dr. Riza C. Berkan on Semantic Search technologies: Semantic Search: An Antidote for Poor Relevancy

The "Semantic Web" approach has been around for a long time now. Unfortunately, it is based on an unrealistic assumption that every Web author will abide by the complex rules of semantics - not to mention the education it requires - and place content in the correct buckets of mysteriously unified standards. Another form of this approach may be to design Web factories that crank out refined Web pages once fed by ordinary Web pages. Of course if there is more than one factory, you have the standards issue again. In this day and age of fast content production, the Semantic Web seems to be more idealism than realism.

I get asked weekly about localization and personalization of content. My standard answer is, "It's doable but no one will do what it takes to make it happen. It's too complex." Add to this the issue of discovery. People use a search engine to discover things. It's quickly becoming the only method they use to discover things. What's the point of embedding logic in content if the search engine isn't capable of understanding that logic?

Dr. Berkan does a nice job of describing why this is such a tough nut. People are wanting solutions right now that quite honestly are outside the capabilities of current technologies. This is still very much a research problem that is years away from a prime-time solution.

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