middle of the wedge (was RE: [rdfweb-dev] Eurekster?)

Danny Ayers danny666 at virgilio.it
Sat Jan 24 14:12:38 UTC 2004

A drawback of the Eurekster approach IMHO is that it's too much in the
client-server mould. A lot more could be gained from exploiting local
(client) storage and processing capability - not exactly replacing the thin
(HTML browser) client with something fatter, rather reducing the distinction
between client and server. The UI wouldn't be fat or thin, just appropriate
to the task.

The way I think this kind of thing could develop is along a path something

1. personal knowledge base

All the data on your local machine gets indexed in a local store. Big
resource list, lots of metadata. When you search, local files get checked
first. The store is like a relational db, but using the logic of RDF/OWL so
it's not so straitjacketed.

2. personal proxy

All your interactions with the outside world (mail, web browing etc) get
indexed in the local store. Again big resource list, lots of metadata. When
you search, local files get checked first, then places you've been on the

3. shared knowledge base (client-server)

A large subset of the indexes in your local KB is available on the web.
When you search, local indexes get checked first, then those online indexes
close to your own get checked. Searches could be zoned according to
foaf:knows and common interests, or whatever other axes are appropriate
(i.e. the social network acts as a bootstrap for the information network).

4. shared KB (peer2peer)

As above, but the local KB now becomes (selectively) accessible to the
outside world. Issues of trust, authorization and bandwidth dismissed with a
vague handwave.

So far it's entirely doable with the tech we've got today, just a bit of
code needs writing ;-)

5. the "Google" becomes the unit of search capability, derived from speed
and relevance (the size of the source knowledgebase no longer being a
consideration), with kiloGoogles/MegaGoogles being typical on mobile/desktop

6. knowledgebase includes active processes (Semantic Web Services)

As above, but when you want to write a letter the app that gets run might
not be a local copy of MS Word, but a component delivered from elsewhere.
Payment for services dismissed with a polite cough.

7. beer becomes free (as in free)

Incidentally, I had a quick look at "RDF Gateway Personal Edition". It looks
a good (commercial) candidate for the kind of personal KB needed above. MS
Windows only, but looking nicely polished.



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