When did the Semantic Web enter our lexicon?

December 18th, 2006

When was the term Semantic Web first used for the W3C’s vision of embedding a web of data in machine-understandable form in the World Wide Web? The earliest reference I can find on the Web is from one of Tim-Berners Lee’s design documents from January 1997. The ideas and some of the technology goes back a bit further of course, but I’m interested in the evolution of the term. Such questions might seem easy for we amateur (or lazy) scholars to answer by searching such resources as Google’s News Archive, Internet Newsgroups, Google Scholar and the Internet Archive. I have to report that I found more than a few errors in the metadata and content for both Google’s news archive and book search. I started this investigations some months ago, and some of the results no longer seem available. In any case, here are some notes on my investigation.