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Where are the semantics in the semantic Web?

From: Shi, Xuan <xshi@GEO.WVU.edu>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 22:54:49 -0500
Message-ID: <D81F456794C18B4DA3E2ABC47DBBEEF2094E40@onyx.geo.wvu.edu>
To: "'Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) '" <RogerCutler@chevron.com>, "Shi, Xuan" <xshi@GEO.WVU.edu>, "'Dan Brickley '" <danbri@w3.org>, "'drew.mcdermott@yale.edu '" <drew.mcdermott@yale.edu>
Cc: "'public-sws-ig@w3.org '" <public-sws-ig@w3.org>

Here is another good article by Michael Uschold published by the AI
Magazine. Also you may wish to read it at:


Please pay attention to the "law of the semantic web" as Uschold concluded:

"The more agreement there is, the less it is necessary to have
machine-processible semantics" 

I am impressed by such statement. This means to me as that we need more
standards and agreements rather than logics to develop semantic Web
services. People use logics because one cannot understand each other, then
we have to guess what the content means by using logics to match the content
of the service. However, what and how machine can process depends on what
and how human beings design it. Computer itself does not have powerful
logical ability to understand varied kinds of semantics in the Web services
in different domains with complex business models.

However, if service semantics is developed based on standards and
agreements, then everything is clear and we do not need logic for

For example, in the airline ticket reservation service, since all of us know
the requirements of the input varibles and prospective outcomes, then such
common sense can be the foundation for domain specific standards. This
means, if service requesters send a request with required and detailed
information about departure/arrival city or airport, time schedule, etc. to
any service provider, they should get the response in the same format. 

For each single company, such as US Airline, United, etc. such response only
have the ticket information of its own service. However, for service
providers like expedia, requesters can send out the same request and get a
response that contains ticket information of multiple companies in the same

If service semantics can be formulated based on standards, then service
requesters may wish to send multiple functional requests in one single XML
document to service providers like expedia to reserve tickets, hotels,
rental cars, etc. and will get back the response also in one single XML
document. Service requesters do not need to know and care about how provider
process their request but can get a response to match their request.

If there is no standard or agreement in such process, we have to guess the
meaning of the service by using different logics.

At last, here is the link to an article "Interoperating GISs" published in
1997 for your kind attention:

Regarding technical, semantic, and institutional problems in GIS
interoperability, it is said in this document that "The semantic level of
interoperability addresses these issues of shared meaning, and is clearly
more problematic than the technical level". When Web service (in a broad
viewpoint) technology can solve the technical problems, we now face the
semantic problems. The experience in GIS community is just to develop
industrial standards and this is the main task and interest of OGC (Open GIS
Consortium). But now, we face the problem to sharing GIS knowledge and
methodologies beyond GIS community via semantic Web services and get more

-----Original Message-----
From: Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)
To: Shi, Xuan; Dan Brickley ; drew.mcdermott@yale.edu
Cc: public-sws-ig@w3.org
Sent: 11/21/05 3:24 PM
Subject: RE: Options we have with respect to the draft charters (i.e.,  RE:
[fwd] Draft charters for work on Semantics for WS)

Very interesting paper.  Thank you. 

-----Original Message-----
From: public-sws-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-sws-ig-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Shi, Xuan
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2005 10:05 AM
To: 'Dan Brickley '; 'drew.mcdermott@yale.edu '
Cc: 'public-sws-ig@w3.org '
Subject: RE: Options we have with respect to the draft charters (i.e.,
RE: [fwd] Draft charters for work on Semantics for WS)

I recommend this 87-page paper "Towards a Semantic Web for Culture" by
Kim H. Veltman which can be accessed at:


The so-called "Semantic Web" in nature is "logical Web", the result is
even XML people cannot understand RDF/OWL due to those logics and the
way of RDF presentation. That's why this technology is not well accepted
and deployed.
That's why I said here before, the more complex the system, the less the
user. It's the same to developing semantic Web services.
Received on Tuesday, 22 November 2005 03:54:28 UTC

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