I'm preparing to give a lecture about the Semantic Web next week, and to put some things in context, I'm talking about how the Semantic Web has gotten to where it is today. Could you help me identify significant milestones in the growth and adoption of Semantic Web?

I'm making this a community wiki, as I hope people will contribute to help build a good summary.

Consuming SW data on the Web:

  • Yahoo! SearchMonkey (2008)
  • Google RDFa support (2009)

Producing SW data on the Web:

  • LOD project, including DBPedia and much more (2007)
  • Best Buy (2008)
  • Digg (2008)
  • Data.gov (2009)
  • Data.gov.uk (2009)
  • NY Times (2009)
  • Drupal (2009)
  • overstock.com (2010)
  • BBC (?)
  • FaceBook Open Graph Protocol (2010)

SW major vendor support:

  • Oracle (Oracle 10g2, ~2007?)
  • Drupal (added in version 7)

SW uses inside enterprises:

(Some documented at http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/sweo/public/UseCases/, but not sure which, if any, are widely-enough known or publicized to be considered a significant milestone.)

(Thanks for any help. I will gladly share the slides that I'm putting together for this lecture so that others may benefit as well.) --

This question is marked "community wiki".

asked 14 Apr '11, 14:18

lee's gravatar image

accept rate: 37%

edited 15 Apr '11, 08:35

bobdc's gravatar image


I think you've caught most, but...

SW within enterprises

Producing SW data on the Web:

...I'll be disappointed if the Pokédex doesn't make it into your slides (after all, success on the Web is measured by the length of its tail).

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answered 14 Apr '11, 16:54

Signified's gravatar image

Signified ♦
accept rate: 37%

edited 14 Apr '11, 19:22


ROFL. I wish it had an appropriately wonderful icon.

(15 Apr '11, 09:28) lee lee's gravatar image

(2011) IBM Watson http://semanticweb.com/answer-what-is-watson_b17704 Watson consumes SW data

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answered 14 Apr '11, 15:27

Erich%20Bremer's gravatar image

Erich Bremer
accept rate: 0%

edited 14 Apr '11, 15:52

I'd say SPARQL 1.1.

SPARQL 1.1 lets developers who are familiar with relational databases to use the whole bag of tricks that they use for RDBMS-based webapps and bizapps use that same bag of tricks for RDF apps.

RDF adds inference and logic on top of that, but a query language comparable in power to SQL and with a similar API makes it easy for developers to build many sorts of applications right here and now.

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answered 24 Oct '11, 16:54

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database_animal ♦
accept rate: 15%


+1 on this, though arguably it only counts as a real milestone when it has stabilized and become a Recommendation.

(24 Oct '11, 17:18) Jeen Broekstra ♦ Jeen%20Broekstra's gravatar image

(1) It's coming, and (2) Current implementation are pretty good... People shouldn't be waiting on the sidelines, they should be jumping in -- the recommendation is important, but people shouldn't wait for it.

(24 Oct '11, 18:16) database_animal ♦ database_animal's gravatar image

My trigger finger is itching to give you

SPARQL Endpoint for Volkswagen UK

to add to your list of 'Producing SW Data on the Web'. We are only a few days away from this (although that is never a guarantee).

In the meantime, you are welcome to add us to the list of RDFa publishers (if there is one):


(along with urls for entire model range. Try to ignore the fact that we invalidated our strict HTML in doing so;). Someone needs to bridge that gap ASAP)

We also published an Ontology for all car manufacturers to describe their Models, Trims and Derivatives along with the available configuration/component options and compatability, along with the effects on pricing:




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answered 15 Apr '11, 10:56

William%20Greenly's gravatar image

William Greenly
accept rate: 13%

Nice showcase, @William. Nevertheless, I'm curious what makes the Volkswagen Vehicles Ontology to a Volkswagen vehicles ontology? At a first glance it looks like a cars ontology mixed with a financing ontology (even the individuals aren't VW specific, from my POV).

(15 Apr '11, 13:02) zazi zazi's gravatar image

The idea was that the ontologies were not meant to be too VW specific. The VVO has quite a few industry standard terms, the VSO is about vehicles in general and the COO is about compatability of Car Components. Hopefully, any manufacturer can use these terms

(15 Apr '11, 13:28) William Greenly William%20Greenly's gravatar image

Yes, that is what I tried to suggest: rename and split the Volkswagen Vehicles Ontology into two separate ontologies, e.g., cars ontology and financing ontology, and the proposed set of ontologies seems fine and usable by every car manufacturer ;)

(15 Apr '11, 16:35) zazi zazi's gravatar image

VIVO (www.vivoweb.org) (2009 limited release of core instutions with general release of VIVO 2010)

  • Erich Bremer
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answered 14 Apr '11, 15:12

Erich%20Bremer's gravatar image

Erich Bremer
accept rate: 0%

I'm sorry, Erich. I don't think I understand how your link relates to my question? Thanks.

(14 Apr '11, 15:14) lee lee's gravatar image

VIVO is a web database of researchers that is built upon a semantic triple store, in this case, Jena SDB. Aside from HTML pages, research data is also exposed as RDF. See near the center of http://richard.cyganiak.de/2007/10/lod/. VIVO is being expanded through a $12.2m stimulus grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). VIVO produces RDF.

(14 Apr '11, 15:31) Erich Bremer Erich%20Bremer's gravatar image

I'm sure that many companies use semantic web technologies internally, but they are never public about it. I know for a fact that IBM use RDF stores in several of their projects.

I also have a confirmed statement from National Instruments:

"National Instruments is currently releasing an internal system based on an RDF triplestore. This technology provides increased flexibility and agility in managing and accessing data for our complex and ever-evolving product offerings. With RDF powering one of our key information delivery infrastructures, we will enable greater capabilities at lower total cost that what we have seen with any competing platform."

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answered 15 Apr '11, 12:36

Juan%20Sequeda's gravatar image

Juan Sequeda
accept rate: 42%

Right, I know about a lot of these myself, as well, but without public success stories I can't really characterize them as milestones for demonstrating adoption. At least not in the way I'm squinting at the question. :-)

(15 Apr '11, 12:48) lee lee's gravatar image

At least for the NI case, they sent me a public statement, that I still have to make public :) But you could go head and freely state that NI uses RDF internally.

(15 Apr '11, 12:59) Juan Sequeda Juan%20Sequeda's gravatar image

This article from 2007 includes some major Semantic Web adopters as well, e.g., NASA.

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answered 23 Apr '11, 04:09

zazi's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

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question asked: 14 Apr '11, 14:18

question was seen: 9,921 times

last updated: 24 Oct '11, 18:16