Find the needle in the haystack that is semantic webSpending time at the IKS Paris Workshop this week, what strikes me first and foremost is the sheer distance; the distance between the skilled state-of-the-art developers and vendors, working with semantic web and the absent practitioner.

One thing is bringing semantic web to web content management. Another more decisive distance that needs to be covered is the one between the smart people at the IKS sponsored projects and the end user.
Today, the distance is still vast.

The use of semantic web is still far from reaching its full potential. To achieve that and make the phenomenon a truly successful one, the end user needs to enter into the equation and become an integral part of the mix.

How can the end user make the use of semantic web viable?

Inspired by the sessions at the IKS workshop, here are 5 possible ways to bridge the gap between technology and the end user. All to the benefit of you – the practitioner.

  1. Develop a business case
    Make it a business case that your management can understand and support. You need to show that using semantic web technology can make a difference for your business.
  2. Can you use it?
    Can you use the user interface (UI)? Don’t accept the developer’s view on the product, but insist on your own user experience.
  3. Stick to the important things
    Insist that semantic search and web should ultimately be designed for your organisation; its people and their tasks.
  4. Speak human
    People working with the semantic web speak about technology in an often obscure terminology instead of talking about user stories. You should insist that they speak your language.
  5. Think user tasks
    Semantic-enabled offerings can either be evaluated from a pure technology innovation point of view or from an end user benefits perspective. Insist on not talking technology but about user tasks. Which tasks are you going to solve?

IKS stands for Interactive Knowledge Stack and is an open source community, whose projects are focused on building an open and flexible technology platform for semantically enhanced Content Management Systems (CMS). John Pereira is managing the community and working at Salzburg Research in Austria.

IKS is co-funded by the European Union with €6.58m.

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