Over the years I’ve worked on quite a few semantic projects, and I’ve listened to hundreds of presentations, and helt over 50 myself. A few things has become very clear to me in this time
1. The need to know what is important to You! What is the ultimate solution for you! If you collaborate with just one other party – XML is fine! If you have established standards with everyone you work with, use them! If you are in an “accidental collaboration” environment you will need clearer semantics. And if you own public data, release them on the semantic web! YOU have to look at your vision, business model and collaboration patterns!
2. Many, if not most, people talking about semantics have no hands on experience. It never stop being amazed to see and hear people talking about this without understanding where the state-of-the-art is. Vision of the technology’s possibilities is not enough. You also need to know the limitations regarding standards, toolkits maturity, theoretical limitations and applied use cases – and even more important experience for more than toy-examples so you can compare to as-is technology.
3. Know the important differences between approaches. Everyone are now calling what they solution semantic. Chosing wrong may lead you on a side track, it may not fit you vision. Know what the world is doing or you may end up with Minitel while the rest of the world uses the Web.
4. Know the steps to your goal. What steps can be executed now, and what needs more maturity from you, the standards, tools and developers. Know that executing early gives wounds, executing late you may lose an opportunity. Know that you can engineer around some problems, others may be harder.
Short and simple, get informe and know what is right for you!