Explorer's Guide to the Semantic Web

Thomas B. Passin

2004 | 304 pages
ISBN: 1932394206

Out of Print $39.95 Softbound print + eBook
$31.99 eBook edition (PDF only)

"A thorough look at one vision of the Web's future...particularly well written...Highly recommended."
-- Choice Magazine

"I recommend this book to students, developers, and researchers who are curious about the semantic Web, or who are looking for an upper-level viewpoint..."
-- Computing Reviews


RESOURCES

DESCRIPTION

A complex set of extensions to the World Wide Web, the Semantic Web will make data and services more accessible to computers and useful to people. Some of these extensions are being deployed, and many are coming in the next years. This is the only book to explore the territory of the Semantic Web in a broad and conceptual manner.

This Guide acquaints you with the basic ideas and technologies of the Semantic Web, their roles and inter-relationships. The key areas covered include knowledge modeling (RDF, Topic Maps), ontology (OWL), agents (intelligent and otherwise), distributed trust and belief, "semantically-focused" search, and much more.

The book's basic, conceptual approach is accessible to readers with a wide range of backgrounds and interests. Important points are illustrated with diagrams and occasional markup fragments. As it explores the landscape it encounters an ever-surprising variety of novel ideas and unexpected links. The book is easy and fun to read - you may find it hard to put down.

The Semantic Web is coming. This is a guide to the basic concepts and technologies that will come with it.

Threads Explored

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT THIS BOOK

Outstanding Academic Title for 2005
"A thorough look at one vision of the Web's future, particularly well written...Highly recommended."
-- Choice Magazine

"I recommend this book to students, developers, and researchers who are curious about the Semantic Web, or who are looking for an upper-level viewpoint..."
-- Computing Reviews

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas Passin is Principal Systems Engineer with Mitretek Systems, a non-profit systems and information engineering company. He has been involved in data modeling and created several complex database-backed web sites and also became engaged in a range of conceptual modeling approaches and graphical modeling technologies. He was a key member of a team that developed several demonstration XML-based web service applications, and worked on creating XML versions of draft standards originally written in ASN.1.

He graduated with a B.S. in physics from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, then studied graduate-level physics at the University of Chicago. He became involved with XML-related work in 1998, with Topic Maps in 1999 and developed the open-source TM4JScript Javascript topic map engine.

Mr. Passin is the coauthor of the book Signal Processing in C. He lives in Reston, Virginia.

Read the JavaRanch interview with Thomas Passin.

SAMPLE CHAPTERS

Two sample chapters of Explorer's Guide to the Semantic Web are available in PDF format. You need Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software to view it. You may download Acrobat Reader here.

Chapter 1
Chapter 5

WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING

"Outstanding Academic Title for 2005"
-- Choice Magazine

"A thorough look at one vision of the Web's future. His discussions of topic maps and ontologies are particularly well written for an audience with little understanding of this field of study. It is a good, comprehensive resource concerning the technologies and concepts associated with the semantic Web. It is appropriate for a wide range of readers from those curious about the future of the Web to designers and programmers who want to apply new ideas to their Web applications. Summing Up: Highly recommended."
--Choice Magazine

"A gentle, semi-informal introduction to the Semantic Web... I recommend this book to students, developers, and researchers who are curious about the Semantic Web, or who are looking for an upper-level viewpoint..."
-- Computing Reviews

"Human beings have been working with the current incarnation of the world wide web for over twenty years now. Over time, the web has evolved from a network of strongly static pages into some highly dynamic and distributed information system. However, most of the information available on the web is targeted exclusively at humans. Computers still have a hard time "understanding" the meaning of information without proper human intervention. This is the gap the Semantic Web initiative is trying to bridge under the leadership of the W3C.

This book provides an excellent exploratory and speculative essay on what the Semantic Web could/will be given the current state of the different technologies that together will help build tomorrow's web. It also features brief, yet attractive and very well written, primers on RDF and topic maps as well as some advanced explorations on web page annotations, ontologies, logic, web services, distributed trusting and software agents.

It is worth noting that this book does not contain any single line of code, merely some RDF excerpts. It is thus specifically targeted at people willing to share the author's futuristic visions on the Semantic Web than hardcore programmers in bad need of a code indigestion. For the latter, the author provides some helpful piece of advice on how to contribute to the Semantic Web movement as well as an extensive list of references to follow if they want to drill down some topics in more depths. Definitely a great reading!!"
-- JavaRanch.com (2nd review)

"I have received and swallowed Manning's first edition of "Explorer's Guide to the Semantic Web" by Thomas B. Passin. I really enjoyed the reading.

Human beings have been working with the current incarnation of the world wide web for over twenty years now. Over time, the web has evolved from a network of strongly static pages into some highly dynamic and distributed information system. However, most of the information available on the web is targeted exclusively at humans. Computers still have a hard time "understanding" the meaning of information without proper human intervention. This is the gap the Semantic Web initiative is trying to bridge under the leadership of the W3C.

This book provides an excellent exploratory and speculative essay on what the Semantic Web could/will be given the current state of the different technologies that together will help build tomorrow's web. It also features brief, yet attractive and very well written, primers on RDF and topic maps as well as some advanced explorations on web page annotations, ontologies, logic, web services, distributed trusting and software agents.

It is worth noting that this book does not contain any single line of code, merely some RDF excerpts. It is thus specifically targeted at people willing to share the author?s futuristic visions on the Semantic Web than hardcore programmers in bad need of a code indigestion. For the latter, the author provides some helpful piece of advice on how to contribute to the Semantic Web movement as well as an extensive list of references to follow if they want to drill down some topics in more depths. Definitely a great reading!!"
-- Val's Blog

"I'm on my second reading of Tom Passin's book. I wish it was people's first exposure to the Semantic Web and not stuff like the American Scientist or Metacrap articles. Tom's book balances Semantic Web hype and potential. If you have strong preconceptions or objections to the AI aspects of the Semantic Web (or you simply think it's a crock), this book might offer a pragmatic enough explanation of the stack to be convincing. The key questions that remain for me as a practitioner and were not answered by this book are, how do I map RDF 'assembler' onto the kinds of domain models developers use every day, and not unrelated, what's the upgrade path for something like the Petstore Demo?"
-- Bill de hÓra's Blog

"Curious about the future of the web? Interested for ideas on what the web will be able to do and how it will be doing it? Curious about the technologies being used to develop the semantic web? Looking for ideas from future technologies that you can apply and use today in your applications? Want to know just what the heck the Semantic Web is all about? In easy-to-read, clear, not-over-your-head technical descriptions, Thomas B. Passin's "Explorer's Guide to the Semantic Web" answers those questions, and more.

If the Semantic Web is mostly a new topic for you, as it was for me before reading this book, Passin's book provides a strong base of knowledge and understanding of the emerging Semantic Web concepts and technologies, including describing data with RDF, navigating information with topic maps, annotation, searching, ontology, semantic web services and intelligent agents.

If you're already quite familiar with the Semantic Web and the technologies behind it, while this book might help you to develop a more complete picture of how the technologies and ideas work into the bigger picture, you may prefer a more technical book with larger, more detailed descriptions and examples."
-- JavaRanch.com

"I just looked at the sample chapters - they look great. I was pleased to see that the author is Tom Passin, one of the most thoughtful and articulate contributors to rdf-interest."
-- Steve Cayzer