Several technology terms, that were new to me, caught my attention this week Web 3.0, the Deep Web and Gymable data. They all refer to different parts of our vast internet universe, including the deep, dark and mysterious nether regions, far beyond what most garden variety users currently access by only using Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to search.
At a roundtable discussion hosted by MIS Asia magazine, I enjoyed the contribution that Dr Leong Mun Kew, the CTO of Singapores National Library Board, made to our event which was all about Better Information management and Business Analytics for Government Agencies. He said the NLB uses a term Gymable data. This phrase, which also broadened my internet lexicon, is based on the acronymn GYM (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) and means the everyday web data that is accessible through these popular search engines. Dr Leong said we should be careful to differentiate between the Internet and the World Wide Web, because they are completely different.
The World Wide Web is what most everyday users access for their information needs, but the Internet is far more extensive. If the world wide web is the tip (the Gymable data) of the iceberg, then the Internet, including the Deep Web is the vast body of ice or secured databases that lies beneath its surface.
Dr Leong said that the Gymable data, which is the web that we all access easily every day, only makes up between five and 10 per cent of the total available information. The Deep Web has the other 85 to 90 per cent and is the realm of expert researchers, academics and government men in black who have the secret access codes. He said the worry was, that with the ease of accessing this Gymable data tomorrows researchers will become lazy and willing to accept a near enough is good enough approach to their work.
And, just when we are all getting our heads around Web 2.0, theres already an upgrade just around the corner - a new breed of semantic search technology for deep analysis which, in a recent report, Ovum analysts Mike Davis and Madan Sheina have already labeled Web 3.0. They say these new semantic technologies are set to replace todays standard keyword-based search methods, which can produce up to 30,000 confusing results. Semantic search, they say, dips into the meaning in language to produce much more highly relevant search results. But, the Ovum researchers say the jury is still out on Web 3.0. According to them, semantic networks are tricky to build and not all are equal. It is unlikely that semantic technologies will ever be able to provide 100 per cent precision in their analysis and results. Moreover, they say, there are still question marks over potentially sticky performance issues with semantic searches that eat up more processing cycles. But, with the speed at which our knowledge is developing, who knows, maybe in three to five years, we will all be talking about Web 3.0 and pondering what is Web 4, 5 or 6.
Ross O. Storey, currently the Managing Editor of Fairfax Business Media Asia, is responsible for the editorial content and production of MIS Asia, CIO Asia, Computerworld Singapore and Computerworld Malaysia magazines.
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