On the Social Shaping of the Semantic Web

On the Social Shaping of the Semantic Web

Paul T. Kidd (Cheshire Henbury, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch317
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Addressed in this chapter is the Social Shaping of the Semantic Web in the context of moving beyond the workplace application domain that has so dominated the development of both Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), and the Social Shaping of Technology perspective. The importance of paradigms and the values that shape technology are considered along with the utility value of ICT, this latter issue being somewhat central in the development of these technologies. The new circumstances of ubiquity and of uses of ICT beyond mere utility, as a means of having fun for example, are considered leading to a notion of the Semantic Web, not just as a tool for more effective Web searches, but also as a means of having fun. Given this possibility of the Semantic Web serving two very different audiences and purposes, the matter of how to achieve this is considered, but without resorting to the obvious and rather simple conceptual formulation of the Semantic Web as either A or B. The relevance of existing Social Shaping of Technology perspectives is addressed. New thoughts are presented on what needs to be central to the development of a Semantic Web that is both A and B. Key here is an intelligent relationship between the Semantic Web and those that use it. Central to achieving this are the notions of the value of people, control over technology, and non-utility as a dominant design principle (the idea of things that do not necessarily serve a specific purpose).

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