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Twine: Stringing Together the Semantic Web

By Walaika Haskins
Oct 23, 2007 4:00 AM PT

Friends, colleagues, organizations and teams will soon be able to use a new service designed to help them share, organize and find information with Twine.com, Radar Networks announced Friday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. Twine is the first mainstream application of what the company called the "Semantic" Web.

Twine: Stringing Together the Semantic Web

"We've worked for several years to build the first platform for Internet scale, end-user facing semantic Web applications and service," Nova Spivack, founder of Radar Networks, told LinuxInsider. "Our first product is Twine.com. And Twine is for knowledge networking."

The new Web-based service will soon enter an invitation-based beta. Individuals can sign up for an invitation to the site's testing phase at the Twine home page. Users will be included in the beta on a rolling basis.

The Web Organized

The Semantic Web is a vision of Tim Berners-Lee, a man widely credited with helping create the Web. The advent of the use of new programming languages is intended to enable Web developers to add the ability to semantically parse information. An increased focus on interactivity and customization, along with an emphasis on media content and social technologies that extends beyond traditional keyword searches, will be added by this technology.

In their stead will exist the next-generation Internet in which Web sites, links, media content, databases and other file types will become smarter with the ability to give context to the information they contain. The intention is to make sense of the glut of data on the Internet by providing contextual relevance. Rather than a Web of hundreds of millions or even billions of documents, the Semantic Web will be one of data that is more easily organized and searched by computers.

"It puts things into context and then connects them based on that context," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, told LinuxInsider. "The benefits should be richer information coming from related research, deeper ideas and some real breakthroughs that otherwise probably wouldn't have happened."

Although Enderle said he does not have in-depth knowledge of the technology, at first blush it does appear to address the core concepts of Berners-Lee and a more intelligent Web framework.

More Than Wiki

Twine.com, now five years in development, offers users, whether individuals or businesses, their first taste of a "smarter way to share knowledge and collaborate with other people," Spivack said.

For example, an IT manager with a systems team that has done extended research on their installation could bring all that information together at Twine so that everyone on the team can leverage it.

"In Twine you can add information in several ways," Spivack explained. "You can e-mail it in, pull it in automatically from places, bookmark it in, and even write notes and fill out data forms right in Twine."

It's like a Wiki and a blog, in some ways, as well as a database. However, Twine also automatically analyzes data, figuring out what it means and what it is about and connects it to the related information the group has collected, he continued.

"It will tag it and find the subjects it [pertains to] automatically," Spivack said "Say your team writes some notes on some new networking products you bought and how they are configured. You put those notes into the Twine for your team and it automatically tags it to the right products, right brands, technology and certain networking concepts. Then it links it to other information your team has like bookmarks, product descriptions, other notes and even e-mails and discussions that the team is having related to those products."

Twine is the next step in knowledge management, according to Spivack, and serves as a central place for everything you know about any topic you are interested in.

"Freebase [a database from MetaWeb] and Twine are doing something that is good, but I kind of doubt that they will make lots of money with it," Alexander H. Linden, a former Gartner analyst, told LinuxInsider.


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