I went along to a very interesting and well delivered presentation in front of it must be said a rather disappointing audience at the British Computer Society in London yesterday evening. “Make Mashups Correct, Complete, Relevant and Revisited” was a presentation originally given by Jonathan Lowe of Giswebsite LLP at Where 2.0, and as Jonathan is a great presenter I was really looking forward to it.
The presentation actually focused on the currently rather specialised area of semantic spatial databases and their potential in powering the mash-ups of the future. He high-lighted some of the darlings of the semantic database industry freebase and True Knowledge, who have developed technology that really demonstrates well the benefits of semantic databases.
The benefits come from having a much more structured data modelling approach than we have become used to on the web, the demo of freebase here is a great example of this, but such a strongly typed approach is also the major weakness of semantic databases at the moment.
Who defines and categorises data into these types and who builds the relationships between database elements. The wiki approach that freebase uses is a great start but ultimately will it scale ?
Semantic databases will become the future way we interact with information online only when their development and maintenance can become automated, in the same way that the creation and analysis of the web indexes behind web search is automated.
In the meantime that make some great demos
Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.