Semantics in the semantic web: A critical evaluation

Mauricio Almeida, Renato Souza, Fred Fonseca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In recent years, the term "semantics" has been widely used in various fields of research and particularly in areas related to information technology. One of the motivators of such an appropriation is the vision of the Semantic Web, a set of developments underway, which might allow one to obtain better results when querying on the web. However, it is worth asking what kind of semantics we can find in the Semantic Web, considering that studying the subject is a complex and controversial endeavor. Working within this context, we present an account of semantics, relying on the main linguist approaches, in order to then analyze what semantics is within the scope of information technology. We critically evaluate a spectrum, which proposes the ordination of instruments (models, languages, taxonomic structures, to mention but a few) according to a semantic scale. In addition to proposing a new extended spectrum, we suggest alternative interpretations with the aim of clarifying the use of the term "semantics" in different contexts. Finally, we offer our conclusions regarding the semantic in the Semantic Web and mention future directions and complementary works.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-203
Number of pages17
JournalKnowledge Organization
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


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