Will I need to understand the Semantic Web in 2008?
Lately I've been thinking a lot about alternate metadata universes where things might look rather different from our libraries' one item => one record world. The thing is, every time I reach some intermediate conclusion about it, the only people I can find who are thinking the same ways seem to be Semantic Web People, or at least people whose blogs/projects I follow, an overlapping set with people from our own profession who care about these things and have already drunk the SemWeb punch to some degree. They tend to call things by names different from what my brain wants to assign them, but no matter, so long as the URIs don't change, I suppose.
On the other hand, if somebody asks, today, in January 2008, "where is the Semantic Web?", I, at least, as a neophyte, have no idea how to answer. Except maybe to suggest that the Web was around for years before People (capital 'P' as in world-scale counts of "people") did interesting things with it and it appeared on a machine near me, and maybe we're now in a similar intermediate phase, so stay tuned, eh.
Which leads me to wondering - is now the time for all good library hackers to come to grips with the state of the SemWeb art? Have we crossed some tipping point?
I know which software libraries to try out, I have some data to muck around with, and there's plenty of interesting work on linked data, so there's something to start with. And it feels like it's time to start. So maybe now's the time?