13 years ago I sat entranced listening to Tim Berners-Lee giving the closing address at the first WWW conference in CERN, Geneva. I was particularly influenced by one diagram which changed the way I thought about the world. I don’t know whether the one below – which I pinched from Dan Connolly’s tutorial – is Tim’s original but it captures the idea:
The Semantic Web… is an open world and universal space for machine-readable data.
To a computer, then, the web is a flat, boring world devoid of meaning…This is a pity, as in fact documents on the web describe real objects and imaginary concepts, and give particular relationships between them…Adding semantics to the web involves two things: allowing documents which have information in machine-readable forms, and allowing links to be created with relationship values.TimBL, WWW1994
This diagram showed that there was a “subterranean” semantic world of documents that moved in sync with the real world. Which drives which we are still discovering!
So what is today’s message? Since there have been 13 years of world effort it’s probably not as epoch-aking for me. But the “two magics” are creativity and collaboration. Both are critical. And the chemical blogosophere and the Blue Obelisk is where creativity and collaboration meet for chemistry. It has to be the start of the future.
And the single message to take away from Tim’s talk:
“If everybody did it it would be awesome”.