W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > April 2006

Re: Ontology editor + why RDF?

From: Phillip Lord <phillip.lord@newcastle.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 13:54:12 +0100
To: "deWaard, Anita (ELS)" <A.dewaard@elsevier.com>
Cc: public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org
Message-ID: <umzf2es5n.fsf@newcastle.ac.uk>

>>>>> "Anita" == deWaard, Anita (ELS) <A.dewaard@elsevier.com> writes:
  Anita> I am reminded of a saying on a Dutch proverb calendar: "If
  Anita> love is the answer, could you please repeat the question?" If
  Anita> semantics are the answer - what is the problem that is being
  Anita> solved, in a way no other technology lets you? b

To be honest, I think that this is a recipe of despair; I don't think
that there is any one thing that SW enables you do to that could not
do in another way. It's a question of whether you can do things more
conveniently, or with more commonality than other wise; after all, XML
is just an extensible syntax and, indeed, could do exactly nothing
that SGML could not do (when it came out -- XML standards exceed SGML
ones now). XML has still been successful. 

It's more a question of whether, RDF or OWL provides a combination of
things that we would not get otherwise. With OWL (DL and lite), I
rather like the ability to check my model with a reasoner, and to be
able to apply the ontology automatically in some circumstances. With
RDF, you have a convenient technology for building a hyperlinked
resource, but with added link types. 

Of course, you could do the latter with straight XML (well, since RDF
is XML, you are doing so). And the former could be done without OWL,
just with a raw DL; of course, then you wouldn't get some of the
additional features of OWL (such as multi-lingual support which
derives directly from the XML). 

  Anita> Perhaps if we can find a way to nail this down (I also
  Anita> believe the use cases of this working group, and the group as
  Anita> a whole is certainly working towards that aim!) we could try
  Anita> to not just preach the semantic gospel, but
  Anita> actually sell it (forgive the mixed metaphor)... 

Having said all that went before, I agree with this; having a set of
RDF/OWL life sciences success stories which explained why the
technology was appropriate (if not uniquely appropriate) would be a
good thing, if it has not been done before. 


Received on Monday, 3 April 2006 12:54:24 UTC

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