No doubt, SMW is much, much more than just a semantic web tool.  It's also a tool for developing ontologies and mixing/merging existing vocabularies; a collaborative database (and database front-end, which is important); and a portal to the semantic web. 

"Collaborative data" is what sells my bosses on SMW's utility in our office. (Of course, our office--Joint Data Support--is all about data, so I tend to play that angle up a bit!)  SMW is also valuable for the  manifold ways it can present data: tables, csv export, timelines, graphs, maps, RDF, etc.  Then again, the utility of the semantic web is eactly that: a web page becomes more than a page.  It's a source of data in a page. 

-Clarence


On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 1:20 AM, Yaron Koren <yaron57@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi,
 
On the front page of semantic-mediawiki.org, it states:
 
"Semantic MediaWiki (SMW) is a free extension of MediaWiki – the wiki-system powering Wikipedia – that helps to search, organise, tag, browse, evaluate, and share the wiki's content. While traditional wikis contain only texts which computers can neither understand nor evaluate, SMW adds semantic annotations that bring the power of the Semantic Web to the wiki."
 
I was looking at this, and was tempted to re-write the last part to something like, "that allow a wiki to function as a collaborative database", because I thought that gave a clearer idea of what SMW actually does; but then I thought this was part of a broader question that maybe deserved general discussion. The question is: how tied in is Semantic MediaWiki with the Semantic Web? Is SMW basically just an offshoot of the Semantic Web (as the intro has it), or is the Semantic Web, in the form of RDF export and the like, a minor, disposable part of SMW? Or is it somewhere in between? I tend to think that SMW and the Semantic Web, though both important, are basically independent concepts; though I might be in the minority on that one.
 
There's also the somewhat-independent question of how SMW should be marketed. Does it bolster SMW to associate it with the Semantic Web, or does that just confuse people and/or make them think SMW is basically an academic exercise? Obviously the answer depends a lot on whom you're marketing to, but what about cases like the SMW homepage, where you have to have one set of wording for everybody?
 
-Yaron

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