Allan Cho and Dean Giustini have recently published an article on Web 3.0 and Health Libraries [PDF]. It’s a good introduction to Web 3.0 and the Semantic Web in their field of librarianship. They discuss some of the definitions of Web 3.0 and their own vision, noting -

“The common theme here is a focus on information organization and retrieval”

Cho and Giustini explain why Web 3.0/Semantic Web will be good for health librarians - because it will improve the accuracy and efficiency of searching. Searching for health information now is difficult - not only because there is a great deal of specificity in searching some of the big databases (MeSH helps some, but not everyone can/will use it) but trying to work out what information is reliable can be very difficult.

The article describes other problems with current search technologies - it is easy to miss important information because of the way searches are constructed and limitations of databases. Findability and trust is important.

Library standards and other projects are also discussed, like RDA and RDF. But one very important point that Cho and Guistini make is that,

“there is a sense that the two groups - library professionals and semantic technologists - do not communicate or see their potential synergies.”

It is important that librarians are participating in discussions about the Semantic Web and RDF, but at the same time, we should be welcoming in those who might be interested in how we do things.

Cho, A., Giustini, D. (2008). Web 3.0 and health librarians: an introduction. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association, 29(1), 13-18.

Originally published on the blog