Connections of Meaningful Relationships

Tim Berners-Lee being interviewed back in 2003 by a BBC program called Go Digital.

TBL: The first hypertext programs I had, what I found was interesting was circles and arrows diagrams of our lives.

When you’ve got a white board or black board and you are trying to explain something to someone, or trying to design something, a new series, a new building, a new organisation, you start drawing circles and arrows between them.

These arrows can be about this person works for this person, it’s about relationships between things. It can be family trees, it can be design trees, all kinds of things. I was interested in capturing this information and that’s why I was interested in web-like things.

In fact when you start drawing circles and arrows, often people try to make it into a tree to help keep their minds straight, but really it’s a web, things can connect in this world to all kinds of other things.

An earlier program I’d had before the web, way back in 1980, allowed you to say when you made a link, allowed you to say what sort of things were, so this is an organisation, this is a person and the relationship between them is an employee of that organisation.

So the nice things about that is if you have told the computer that, then the computer can do things like draw up organisational bar charts, it can find out all the dependencies, and it can start answering interesting questions for you.

GD: And this is the kind of thing that tends to be missing at the moment. When you do a web search, it doesn’t tell you the meaning of the results the web search throws up. So this semantic web is actually finding meaning in web pages?

There’s something here that I’m not seeing fully. I’ve bolded things above that seems to really stand out. The words “lives”, “relationships”, and “meaning” though all really seem to fit in when discussing a “culture”.