Reading this recent interview with Tim Berners-Lee, I was struck by his elegant description of how linked data on the web and textual material on the web (web pages, documents, etc.) will relate to each other:
You’ve got search for text phrases on one side (which is a useful tool) and querying of the data on the other. I think that those things will connect together a lot.
So I think people will search using a search text engine, and find a webpage. On the front of the webpage they’ll find a link to some data, then they’ll browse with a data browser, then they’ll find a pattern which is really interesting, then they’ll make their data system go and find all the things which are like that pattern (which is actually doing a query, but they’ll not realize it), then they’ll be in data mode with tables and doing statistical analysis, and in that statistical analysis they’ll find an interesting object which has a home page, and they’ll click on that, and go to a homepage and be back on the Web again.
So the web of linked data and the web of documents actually connect in both directions, with links.
MacManus, Richard. “ReadWriteWeb Interview With Tim Berners-Lee, Part 2: Search Engines, User Interfaces for Data, Wolfram Alpha, And More…” ReadWriteWeb, 9 July 2009. Web. 9 July 2009.