Radar Networks Ties Together Web 2.0, Semantic Web With 'Twine' - InformationWeek

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Radar Networks Ties Together Web 2.0, Semantic Web With 'Twine'

The online knowledge management service ties together social networking, wikis, and blogging with RDF, OWL, SPARQL, and XSL technologies.

Startup Radar Networks has launched in private beta an online knowledge management system that's among the first to use computer-driving semantic Web technologies to find and organize information for people.

Called Twine, the service was unveiled at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week. The service has elements of Web 2.0 technologies, such as social networking, wikis, and blogging, but goes a step further with an underlying platform built on Web 3.0 technologies defined by the Worldwide Web Consortium. Those technologies include RDF (Resource Definition Framework), OWL (a markup language), SPARQL (an RDF query language), and XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language).

In general, the service enables a person, or groups of people, to organize information and share it with others. People can upload contacts, pictures, and documents from their desktops, and save text, videos, and images from Web sites. Twine also uses software agents to import content and metadata from other sites, based on the knowledge the system builds about the user.

In other words, Twine is smart enough to discover relationships between information on the Web and the information stored by users. "By analyzing content, it builds what we call a knowledge network for you," Nova Spivack, founder and chief executive of Radar Networks, told InformationWeek.

Data brought into Twine is analyzed and tagged, with the system understanding if the keywords refer to people, places, or things. The tags are listed on a user's Twine page. Clicking on the keyword will bring up all the related information saved by the user or shared by other people in his network.

Radar Networks, funded by Leapfrog Ventures and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Capital, believes that the semantic Web will enable it to build a knowledge network that provides users with a richer experience than other services using older technologies.

The idea behind the semantic Web is to build Web sites that publish information in a form that can be processed and integrated by computers. If the technology takes off, then machines could theoretically perform many of the tasks that today require human direction, such as finding and buying the cheapest DVD, or gathering information on specific topics.

Radar believes marketing teams or other groups in organizations that today may use traditional groupware or other form of collaborative software could eventually use Twine. "If you compare this to a wiki or existing groupware, it's a lot more efficient," Spivack said. "It takes a lot of the load off of individuals, and it sees patterns that they wouldn't see themselves."

The service is currently being offered in private beta for testing and feedback, Spivack said. The company plans to launch a public beta next year. In time, Twine will be offered in two versions: a free, ad-supported version, and a subscription-based premium service. In addition, Radar Networks, which is based in San Francisco, hopes to partner with content providers.

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