At a keynote address a few minutes ago here at the Bio-IT World Conference + Expo in Boston, W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee spoke energetically about how the semantic web can help life sciences discovery by "connecting anything to anything," he said.
According to Berners-Lee, life sciences researchers are currently forced to navigate around a complex world of incompatible data and information formats without a map.
The semantic web allows for concepts to be related over the web through the use of ontologies (see "What is an ontology?") and "allows for the bridging of data and application boundaries," he said. "The semantic web connects the stovepipes of information. It is not a top-down taxonomy, but a mush of interconnected concepts. It models real things, not just documents or database tables," he said.
Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, went of to say that the life sciences are a flagship area for the semantic web and urged scientists to "develop your own ontologies and map data sources to RDF."
"We need to get it rolled out," he said.