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Re: perspectives on OWL v.next and RDF

From: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 10:37:27 +0100
Message-ID: <1f2ed5cd0611180137j218c81b2yf1b4e6c4d5b43b77@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Bijan Parsia" <bparsia@isr.umd.edu>
Cc: "Jim Hendler" <hendler@cs.umd.edu>, "Kendall Clark" <kendall@monkeyfist.com>, public-owl-dev@w3.org

On 18/11/06, Bijan Parsia <bparsia@isr.umd.edu> wrote:
> On Nov 15, 2006, at 1:10 AM, Jim Hendler wrote:
> [snip]
> > point taken, but one would expect the uptake on the public side to
> > be continuing while the other goes on - It is unclear to me why
> > intranet adoption would favor more expressivity, woudl assume it to
> > be about the same
> >
> While I share the belief that intranet adoption is a perfectly fine
> rationale for adding (or removing) something, I would like to point
> out that I certainly don't think that the extra expressivity is being
> driven by "intranet" adoption...at least, I sure didn't see it that
> way. The person who, afaik, introduced this claim was Danny Ayers.

I asked some questions over of Bijan & Kendall's blog [1], variants on
"how many of the DL applications you've seen actually use the web?".

Kendall responded:
I want to solve hard problems for my customers, and while they always
"use the Web" in that they use stuff like HTTP and XML and RDF and
SOAP, etc., none of them "use the Web" in the sense that you care

The sense that I care (most) about is that of timbl's definition of
the Web [2], "a universe of network-accessible information".

>  From what I recall, he thinks that the kind of life sciences users
> such as NCI, Galen, Snomed, etc. that want things like qualified
> cardinality restrictions are "effectively offline users". Kendall's
> point was, even if you *grant* this (what I think to be false)
> premise, it doesn't invalidate their needs or make them less useful
> for driving forward the semantic web.

I don't dispute that applications like these can be very useful for
driving forward the Semantic Web.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the drive for a new version of OWL does
come from a section of the OWL user community, in particular the
segment currently using DL more or less exclusively of the current OWL
sublanguages. But any new version of OWL will have an impact beyond
this group.

Now it may be, whatever the particular motivations, that the
requirements of this group are entirely in line with those of the
broader Semantic Web community - or at least do not run counter to
those needs. Speaking personally, I wouldn't be unhappy to see a new
version of OWL that was a superset of the current version, whether or
not the extra parts were used outside of the existing DL community.

What does concern me is the possibility that any new version of OWL
might negatively impact the Semantic Web as a whole. Given the current
state of deployment of RDF and OWL, I'd suggest maintenance of
compatibility with existing specifications is very important. Given
this, statements like "OWL 1.1 does not have an RDF-compatible
semantics" may be cause for concern.

The suggestion that the increment proposed is small seems a little
disingenuous - new semantics, new concrete syntax, functional syntax
style of specification. If the difference so small, why not let it
simply be defined as another species : OWL Full, OWL DL...OWL Plus?

Let me be clear here : my personal position is not anti-OWL v.next,
it's pro-Semantic Web. I don't really have a problem with any
additions, as long as the new material works well with what we've
already got in RDF and OWL. I'm not sure of the timing either way, but
clearly something needs to be resolved now. There may be no conflict
in the proposals, and everybody can benefit. But as I've stated
before, I believe the onus should be on the proposers to convincingly
demonstrate that.


[1] http://clarkparsia.com/weblog/2006/11/10/owled-2006-is-here/
[2] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Architecture.html


Received on Saturday, 18 November 2006 09:37:41 UTC

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