Compounding the Results: The Integration of Virtual Worlds with the Semantic Web

Charles J. Lesko, Yolanda A. Hollingsworth


Over the past 20 years governmental use of web-base information and technologies has continually expanded taking advantage of the Web's vast, ever-expanding volumes of browser-accessible information.   Now infuse two new technologies, the first of these espouses a world where semantic-powered applications become knowledgeable assistants for web users.  The second new technology takes a perceivably flat two-dimensional approach to presenting current web-content and adds a third-dimensional perspective to the presentation.  Welcome to the Semantic Web as seen through the eyes of a Virtual World participant, an environment where web users no longer are browsing for information that is largely static; where web users interacting through their proxies (avatars) query applications (web agents) soliciting them to collect, filter, verify, correlate, and present answers to their queries often in more visually palatable three-dimensional format.

Following a brief overview of these two technologies, this article presents several of the key force drivers behind their evolution and the benefits gleaned from their collective use.  Further discussion identifies new methods for visualizing semantic content in Virtual Worlds.  Finally, as with any technological evolution, merging these two technologies brings on a whole new set of challenges from a web user’s perspective as well as perspectives from both technology developers in academia and government.



Virtual Worlds, Semantic Web, Government, 3-D Web

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