Semantics in regard to HTML markup is a murky water. This is because web pages are usually not an essay style document, which HTML was designed to markup, and contain information that is not actually relevant to what the page is about. Examples would be: menus, shopping cart information, summaries of forum activity, and the other half of HTML design: user/human interfaces. To say or even think that HTML can encapsulate all the “meanings” that human language structures can come up with (which are actually infinite), not to mention the non-language structures found on web systems representing a computer system interface, is naive. It is also an assumption that has never been backed up by any standards body in argument and thats because its simply wrong. The Microformat standard and now POSH process seem to be unwittingly dealing with the problem without understanding it. This is actually an applied philosophy problem!
Summary of article – Shirky: Ontology is Overrated — Categories, Links, and Tags
This article looks at ontology’s and compares traditional predefined fixed expert ontology’s with the current web trend of individually defined organically growing tagging of web content post-publishing that is becoming every more popular on the web.
It reviews the traditional methods and looks at how they are based on library’s who’s systems where designed to find a book on a shelf so a thus it had to have only one place in the catalog system.
Continue reading “There is no shelf”