Socio-Technical Challenges of Semantic Web: A Culturally Exclusive Proposition?

Socio-Technical Challenges of Semantic Web: A Culturally Exclusive Proposition?

Bolanle A. Olaniran (Texas Tech University, USA), Hansel E. Burley (Texas Tech University, USA), Maiga Chang (Athabasca University, Canada), Rita Kuo (Ming Dao University, Taiwan) and MaryFrances Agnello (Texas Tech University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-650-1.ch019
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The Semantic Web holds significant implications for learning, culture, and non-native speakers, with culture and non-native speakers rarely being addressed in the literature. In that light this chapter goal explores how Semantic Web disseminates learning, and it addresses critical socio-technical and cultural challenges facing semantic web, potential users, and learners using it. The chapter identifies some of the causes of the socio-technical challenges, looking at two major styles of learning and the position of Semantic Web structure in them. The chapter also offers recommendations for addressing selected challenges facing the Semantic Web.
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As a basis for intelligent applications, the Semantic Web is integral to achieving the goals of e-learning, distance, and global education. These intelligent applications will enable more efficient information use by drawing upon deep collections of repository knowledge (Schoop, deMoor, & Dietz, 2006). Beyond the internal world of web architecture paradigms, the organization of Semantic Web and its approach to learning holds significant implications for learning—in general, culture, and non-native speakers that are rarely addressed in the literature, however. This chapter addresses the Semantic Web’s socio-technical and cultural challenges that are presented to users, learners, and the Semantic Web itself, while it disseminates learning.

The chapter accomplishes this by identifying selected causes of the socio-technical challenges, focusing on two major styles of learning and the Semantic Web structure position in them. Furthermore, to illustrate the nature of the challenges, the authors explore the foundation of knowledge acquisition tracing it as far back to the idea to Plato and Aristotle’s positions on universalism and particularism ideologies. These two foundations help to illuminate the importance of culture and the challenges culture poses in Semantic Web deployment as a learning platform. The idea of cultural variation will be provided as a way to illustrate a key pitfall of Semantic Web which revolves around amplification of digital divide when taken together. For instance, human computer interaction (HCI) model of interaction in the Semantic Web environment and for enhancing communication between users and the computer occur at conceptual, semantic, syntactic, and lexical levels (Patil, Maetzel, & Neuhold, 2003). However, there are key discrepancies and mismatches between technology, and user needs and requirements, some of which are attributable to knowledge, general illiteracy, and information communication technology (ICT) illiteracy and different cultural demands. The chapter also addresses some key implications for Semantic Web regarding design, use, and general effectiveness or lack thereof. A call to action for policy makers, IT designers, and Users would also be made. First, however, is the need to offer a general background on the Semantic Web.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Learning: Involves the process of knowledge dissemination and acquisition taken place over electronic networks

Ontology: Represents the organization of learning or course materials and services around small domain of semantically enriched objects Semantics

Pragmatic Web: Focuses on meaning and the process of negotiating meaning.

Globalization: Involves economic and socio-cultural ideas where organizations are able transcend national geographic and cultural boundaries through convergence of space and time in attempt to accomplish goals.

Semantic Web: Implies the process or idea where content is made suitable for machine consumption rather than content that is only fit for human consumption.

Culture: Consists of different value preferences that influence communication interaction and how people create meaning.

Semantic Browser: Search browser for determining the contextual use of concepts.

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