Purpose –To describe and evoke the potential impact of semantic web systems at the level of library practice. Design/methodology/approach – A general outline of some of the broad issues associated with the semantic web, together with a brief, simple explanation of basic semantic web procedures with some examples of specific practical outcomes of semantic web development. Findings – That the semantic web is of central relevance to contemporary LIS practitioners, whose involvement in its development is necessary in order to determine what will be the true benefits of this form of information service innovation. Research limitations/implications – Since much of the initial discussion of this topic has been developmental and futuristic, applied practitioner‐oriented research is required to ground these discussions in a firm bedrock of applications. Practical implications – semantic web technologies are of great practical relevance to areas of LIS practice such as digital repository development and open access services. Originality/value – The paper attempts to bridge the gap between the abstractions of theoretical writing in this area and the concerns of the working library professional.
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