The availability of huge amounts of semantic markup on the Web promises to enable a quantum leap in the level of support available to Web users for locating, aggregating, sharing, interpreting and customizing information. While we cannot claim that a large scale Semantic Web already exists, a number of applications have been produced, which generate and exploit semantic markup, to provide advanced search and querying functionalities, and to allow the visualization and management of heterogeneous, distributed data. While these tools provide evidence of the feasibility and tremendous potential value of the enterprise, they all suffer from major limitations, to do primarily with the limited degree of scale and heterogeneity of the semantic data they use. Nevertheless, we argue that we are at a key point in the brief history of the Semantic Web and that the very latest demonstrators already give us a glimpse of what future applications will look like. In this paper, we describe the already visible effects of these changes by analyzing the evolution of Semantic Web tools from smart databases towards applications that harness collective intelligence. We also point out that language technology plays an important role in making this evolution sustainable and we highlight the need for improved support, especially in the area of large-scale linguistic resources
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