This article discusses what kind of entity the proposed Semantic Web (SW) is, principally by reference to the relationship of natural language structure to knowledge representation (KR). There are three distinct views on this issue. The first is that the SW is basically a renaming of the traditional AI KR task, with all its problems and challenges. The second view is that the SW will be, at a minimum, the World Wide Web with its constituent documents annotated so as to yield their content, or meaning structure, more directly. This view makes natural language processing central as the procedural bridge from texts to KR, usually via some form of automated information extraction. The third view is that the SW is about trusted databases as the foundation of a system of Web processes and services. There's also a fourth view, which is much more difficult to define and discuss: If the SW just keeps moving as an engineering development and is lucky, then real problems won't arise. This article is part of a special issue called Semantic Web Update
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