Berners-Lee to CIOs: Prepare Now for Next-Gen Web

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –The Web’s evolution depends on companies and organizations embracing universal and open standards, inventor Tim
told attendees at this week’s Center for eBusiness@MIT conference.

“The reason people invest their lives and careers (working on new technology) is that they don’t expect some company to come into take it away from them,”
Berners-Lee said. “Just the rumor of patents and royalties will put a two years stop in development — we can’t afford that.”

Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an organization that sets guidelines for the Web, gave
attendees, many of them CIOs, a high-level overview of the Semantic Web

From the Greek words for sign, signify, and significant, the Semantic Web, was first sketched by Berners-Lee in 1998. The architecture is an extension of the current
Web. In broad terms, the Semantic Web attaches well-defined meanings to data — enabling it to be used for discover, automation and reuse across various

Driving this dynamic tool is Resource Description Framework (RDF), a language designed to support the Semantic Web in much the same way that HTML is the
language that helped initiate the original Web.

RDF supports resource description, or metadata (data about data), for the Web. RDF provides common structures that can be used for interoperable XML data
exchange. RDF follows the W3C design principles of interoperability, evolution, and decentralization.

“My advice to companies is to have their engineers learn RDF,” Berners-Lee said. “Don’t expect shrink-wrapped products but get information into RDF format. As
tools come along you’ll be able to do more with it.”

He also encouraged companies to discuss standards and common terminology with others in the industry, so that when the Semantic Web is functioning, there is
more interoperability.

In other W3C news, the organization accelerated its international expansion
with a new office in Korea.

W3C, which counts 500 tech companies among its members and is based in Cambridge, Mass., currently has offices in Australia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong,
Israel, Italy, Korea, Morocco, The Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K.

The group also recently announced its recommendations for P3P, a standard
for expressing Web site privacy policies.

Colin C. Haley is managing editor of