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Re: Where are the semantics in the semantic Web?

From: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 17:30:01 -1000
Message-ID: <43868539.4080100@ibiblio.org>
To: jeff@inf.ed.ac.uk
Cc: public-sws-ig@w3.org

To use XML Schema to define abstract concepts would force everyone
sharing that concept, if it was defined *solely* in terms of XML Schema,
to use the same set of XML serializations. I think it *ain't gonna
work,* as people are not going to rewrite their XML data for us - try to
standardize the XML complex type for "Person." Oh dear, it would a
million more W3C recommendations...

What is much more interesting and much more feasible for data
integration and discovery (and the SemWeb in general) is to let people
format their data in XML however they want (and there's lots of
differing schemas out there...) and then provide a method for
"connecting" them if they refer to the same ontological abstraction.
This I believe what the RDF bindings for WSDL, WSDL-S, OWL-S, etc are
providing, and this is a *good* thing despite the differing details.
Think programming classs definition that lets one "hook" together all
your various Java classes, Python, and SQL stuff and say "this class in
Java, this class in Python, and this database table all refer to the
same person".

And, as it must be pointed out again and again, XML does not provide a
formal semantics. It's a serialization format like ASCII - you don't
"reason" or "prove" things with just ASCII, do you?  Think of XML as a
representation format for data, and think of the SemWeb as a
representation format with a formal semantics for *what the data refers
to* .

I thought that this sort of agreement was going to be the "bottom-line"
for working on "Semantic Web Services", not something up for argument. I
mean, we can argue it till we're blue in the face, but I'm not sure if
this is the forum for rehashing vanilla XML vs SemWeb again. I mean, we
could - the fact that this keeps coming up points to the fact the SemWeb
community hasn't managed to convey this point very well.

                  Good night!
                                   -harry
                                    University of Edinburgh

jeff@inf.ed.ac.uk wrote:

>Quoting Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>:
>
>  
>
>>... XML Schemas do *not* provide class definitions of abstractions of
>>the real world, but provide data-typing and constraint information for a
>>group of vanilla XML document or data.
>>    
>>
>
>XML schemas can provide class definitions of abstractions of the
>real world just as class definitions in programming languages can.
>  
>
Received on Friday, 25 November 2005 03:30:07 GMT

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