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Draft of charter for NextWebOnt (Proposed) Working Group

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 18:03:25 +0000
To: public-owl-dev@w3.org
Message-Id: <CB4DD65B-B043-4D52-A91D-92C722BF9689@cs.man.ac.uk>
Hi folks,

At OWLED 2006, I drew up a very very draft charter for a potential  
"NextOnt" working group for taking the OWL 1.1 proposal to  
recommendation. I have come up with a considerable more fleshed out  
version that seems to be a good starting place for discussion. It's  
posted at:


and attached here.

Feedback more than welcome!

I don't know if there is the right balance between restriction and  
freedom in the charter at the moment. There are certainly some things  
that could be decided before the WG started and thus written into the  
charter. For example, whether to have a more elaborate "species"  
framework as part of the normative specifications (i.e., as a matter  
of conformance) is something that I, personally, could go either way  
on. So I thought to leave it up to the working group to decide how  
they want to handle it. But it certainly seems possible that a clear  
consensus would emerge before the WG one way or another. I'm  
similarly reluctant to specify the exact shape and status of the  
documents, but there might be something settleable in advance.


Version as of January 11, 2006.

Feedback welcome; preferably via the public-owl-dev@w3.org mailing list.

The charter should be scoped so as to constrain the WG to produce a  
relatively small, predictable addition to OWL. The motivations for  
such an addition include:

Consideration of the Webont WG's many postponed issues, and the  
partially met or unmet goals.
Recent work by theoreticians and implementors shows that there are  
some "easy wins" that would partially meet some long standing user  
Without ongoing development, users (and potential users) with  
currently unsatisfied requirements may consider moving away from OWL.  
(Must be balanced with need to avoid destabalisation.)
Some things can be and perhaps properly are handled by other groups,  
but other things really seem to require work on OWL itself (such as  
QCRs or axiom annotations).
Making OWL more XML friendly, on the one hand, and human reader  
friendly, on the other, could help adoption by new user communities.
Other (potentially important) issues (such as synthesis with other  
languages/paradigms) should be excluded if they are not currently  
well enough understood or lack community consensus.
The WG should be tightly focused and of short duration; the charter  
should facilitate this without being too restrictive.
This draft was written by Bijan Parsia and Ian Horrocks with feedback  
from various people, especially the attendees of OWLED 2006.

[NewWebOnt] Working Group Charter

Modified from WS-Policy charter

The mission of the [NewWebOnt] Working Group, part of the Semantic  
Web Activity, is to produce W3C Recommendations for an extension to  
the Web Ontology Language (OWL) by refining the “OWL 1.1” Member  
Submission; it will address implementation experience and  
interoperability feedback (from the OWL 1.1 Member Submission),  
maximize compatibility with existing OWL ontologies, and produce a  
test suite and suitable outreach material.

OWL 1.1 grew out of the first OWL: Experiences and Directions (OWLED)  
workshop. It represents a relatively small set of extensions of OWL  
that 1) have been identified by users as widely needed and 2) have  
been identified by tool implementors as reasonable and feasible  
extensions to current tools. At the second OWLED workshop, multiple  
implementations of editors and reasoners for OWL 1.1 were  
demonstrated, validating the design. Users at the workshop indicated  
that this relatively small addition to OWL would address a wide class  
of needs and help further adoption of OWL.

OWL 1.1 also tried to refine certain aspects of OWL based on user and  
implementor experience; e.g., by tightening of the specification of  
the abstract syntax of OWL so as to better support APIs, and to allow  
for a deterministic and round-tripable mapping from the abstract  
syntax to RDF graphs.

This Working Group shall be schedule-driven and OWL 1.1 shall remain  
compatible, to the extent possible, with existing implementations and  
uses. This charter features an aggressive schedule and a tightly  
constrained scope designed to ensure that the [NewWebOnt] will meet  
its schedule. This charter is intended to carry OWL consensus and  
interoperability forward, as outlined in Tips for Getting to  
Recommendation Faster.

End date	1 year after start (Sometime 2007-2008?)
Confidentiality	Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs	???
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: ??)	??
Usual Meeting Schedule	See Meetings

The [NewWebOnt] working group is chartered to provide incremental  
extensions to the Web Ontology Language (OWL). The extensions are of  
the following sorts:

Extensions to the logic underlying OWL, adding new constructs that  
extend the expressivity of OWL (e.g., qualified cardinality  
Extensions to the datatype support provided by OWL, e.g., with XML  
Schema Datatypes and datatype facets.
Additional syntactic sugar, i.e., constructors that do not extend the  
expressive power of OWL, but that make some common modelling  
paradigms easier to express (e.g., disjoint unions).
Refinement of the OWL specification, e.g., a rationalization and  
tightening of the specification of the abstract syntax of OWL so as  
to better support APIs, and to allow for a deterministic and round- 
tripable mapping from the abstract syntax to RDF graphs.
Additional concrete sytnaxes for OWL ontologies. Notably, a new XML  
format designed for easy parsing and maximal compatibility with  
current XML practices.
Rationalization of the species of OWL. For example, identifying  
useful sub-languages that are (more) tractable and/or efficiently  
implementable, e.g., with standard relational and deductive database  
The working group should determine whether continuing the "species"  
framework for end users is the best way to serve the OWL community,  
or whether the identification of interesting fragments by the working  
group is "merely" informative.
The starting point for the working group is the OWL 1.1 member  
submission: it defines expressive extensions for OWL, refined  
abstract and XML syntaxes, and a mapping from the abstract syntax to  
RDF; it also identifies several tractable fragments of OWL. In order  
to help the working group to stay on schedule, this charter requires  
working group consensus to add expressivity to OWL beyond that in the  
OWL 1.1 member submission. The charter does not require working group  
consensus to remove some of the additional functionality if it turns  
out to lead to unanticipated difficulties. This charter also does not  
require working group consensus to add additional concrete syntaxes  
(e.g., more "user friendly" syntaxes), or to extend the range of  
tractable fragments that are identified; such extensions will,  
however, only be considered provided that they do not have any  
adverse impact on the schedule.

The working group will work to ensure a smooth transition from OWL to  
OWL 1.1 by providing suitable outreach documents (whether new or as  
updates to existing documents), and by striving to maximize backwards  
compatibility, especially of ontologies.

The working group will develop an extension to the OWL Test Suite  
covering the new functionality (and optionally old functionality),  
and differences, if any, with the existing language.

Out of Scope

Query languages (see the DAWG for SPARQL/DL)
Rules (see RIF)

The work is clearly related to the work of the DAWG and RIF working  
groups, but is not dependant on that work. Close coordination with  
these working groups will, however, clearly be mutually beneficial.


The [NewWebOnt] does not plan to have any face-to-face meetings, and  
intends to rely on distributed meetings.

At least up until the Last Call period ends, a two-hour Working Group  
distributed meeting will be held every week; thereafter, a one and  
half hour Working Group distributed meeting will be held every week.  
When necessary, e.g., in order to meet agreed-upon deadlines,  
distributed meetings may be held twice a week.

The [NewWebOnt] Working Group may adjust the timing and duration of  
meetings to address the workload and assure that the goals and  
schedule of this charter are achieved.


Functional-style Syntax (FS)
Semantics (S)
Mapping to RDF (RS)
XML Syntax (XS)
Tractable Fragments document (TF)
Outreach material (e.g., overview, guide, etc.)
Test Suite

This schedule is aggressive but contains built-in "slop". For  
example, the first working drafts of most of the documents occur  
"sometime" in months 2-4.

@Week 6 	Got to know each other,
verified scope of language,
done some outreach,
made plans for the work
@Month 2-4
First Working Drafts of FS, S, RS, XS, TF
@Month 4-6 	Last Call WD of FS, S, RS, XS
FWD of outreach material & test suite
@Month 7-9
Test Suite "ready to support CR"
CR of FS, S, RS, XS
LC WD of outreach material & TF
@Month 9-12	Recommendation status for all Rec track docs
Received on Thursday, 11 January 2007 18:03:28 UTC

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