Gov could reap benefits from semantic web – with right tools

The semantic web allows machines to read human language. Think of Watson, the IBM supercomputer that beat out Jeopardy’s top two competitors.

But the benefits of machines understanding human languages extend beyond game shows – Governments could benefit hugely with this ability to sift through data.

“Many of our customers, especially the government customers, have enormous data sources and they feel there’s tremendous insight available in those data sources if only they had the tools to process them,” said Dave McQueeney, vice president of software at IBM, in an interview with Federal News Radio.

One effort now among a few agencies could end up spreading to other agencies. The National Information Exchange Model – a partnership with the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services – exchanges standards and processes to share information in emergency situations nationwide.


GCN reports that Justice started NIEM in 2005 and the program is quickly growing. NIEM currently uses some semantic technology, but the program has the potential to make semantics mainstream in government, Government Computer News reports.

NIEM holds the promise of allowing agencies to one day share all its data and to identify patterns and trends among the vast amounts of data government has and collects.