Semantic technologies

Semantic technologies provide tools to analyse data and to distinguish meaning from data. As example of these technologies, they include the Resource Description Framework (RDF), the Friend of a Friend ontology (FOAF), the Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS), and triple stores. Semantic technologies are linked to ontology, but do not define ontologies themselves. Examples of semantic technologies include Calais and Alchemy (Osimo, Smith, Verona, Szkuta, Shahin and Meyer, 2014).

Semantics emerged as a key phenomenon of the worldwide web as a result of the Semantic Web movement, launched around the turn of the Century by Time Berners-Lee et al (2001). This article expressed the future of technologies that would be able to extract meaning from structured data on the worldwide web (semantic data).

Semantic technologies refer to either Hard semantic technologies or Soft semantic technologies, as stated in (Tiropanis et al., 2009). Hard semantic technologies "provide ways to express meanings of resources  and their relationships in machine-processable formats, and ways to draw conclusions—to reason—based on these meanings" (Tiropanis et al. 2009).

On the other hand, Soft semantic technologies "provide ways to express the meanings of resources in formats that humans can interpret, or in formats that employ domain-specific information structures" (Tiropanis et al., 2009). For example, we can mention traditional tagging tools, topic maps, and domain-specific XML schemas.


Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J. and Lassila, O. (2001). The Semantic Web. Scientific American.

Osimo, D. , Smith, F., Verona, M., Szkuta, K., Shahin, J. and Meyer, T. (2014). Feasibility study on using automated technologies to support policy-making. Brussels: European Commission.

Tiropanis, T., Davis, H., Millard, D., and Weal, M. (2009). Semantic Technologies for Learning anTeaching in the Web 2.0 Era. Society Online,


  • Semantic web
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