Tracking Informaton
on Today's
Internet

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the book

I am convinced that everyone should be able to use the content within the Internet as profitable as possible. But everyone must recognize the dangers that arise from this as well. Everybody needs to understand the tools and techniques for collecting, analyzing and processing digital content. Tools available free of charge and without requiring detailed technical knowledge. That’s exactly what this book is about: it explains the latest developments, helps make use of the content on the Internet and provides insights to identify possible threats.

At an early stage in the writing of this book it was not publicly known that the SCHUFA (a German Credit Rating Company) planned to start a scoring service based on Facebook profiles. The idea later stopped under public protest. Neither had Edward Snowden fueled a discussion about the global surveillance by intelligence agencies. Both cases emphasize the important role of content on the Internet. The ability to browse the Internet and to draw conclusions automatically should not be limited to intelligence agencies or multinational corporations. Every user should be able to automatically evaluate content on the Internet and have the Internet work for him or her. Luckily, as more time passes, this becomes reality. You only have to know the relevant sources of content and tools and how to utilize them.

Timothy Berners-Lee once wrote in the Scientific American Magazine:

"The real power of the Semantic Web will be realized when people create many programs that collect Web content from diverse sources, process the information and exchange the results with other programs.The effectiveness of such software agents will increase exponentially as more machine-readable Web content and automated services (including other agents) become available."
(Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J., & Lassila, O. (2001). The Semantic Web. Scientific American, 284(5), 34–43. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0501-34)

An increasing number of people make use of this capability for a tangible financial reason. Studies show that a clever use of the Internet provides a financial advantage. On average, experienced users achieve a financial value of up to € 1,400 per year compared to inexperienced users (see the "Consumers driving the digital uptake" study of the IAB Europe). This arises from the informational advantage based on an optimal use of the content on the Internet.

The book explains how these skills have evolved and where they will lead us in the near future. It serves as guide for those who want to build their own Internet automation. Let the Internet search for bargains, research latest news, execute recurring tasks and inform you automatically when needed. All the tools needed are available. The book exemplifies methods, tools and solutions to build your own individual Semantic Web.

We are facing a change in the way we use the Internet. This change is fully recognized only by a few people. Currently, the public discussion revolves around the mobile use of the Internet and the increasing digitalization of daily life. No doubt, important points. But we miss the basis for both: the content of the World Wide Web. Everybody who uses this content efficiently will draw individual profit from the next phase of the Internet’s development.

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© 2014 Dirk Stähler