W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > March 2007

RE: Rich semantics and expressiveness

From: Hans Teijgeler <hans.teijgeler@quicknet.nl>
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2007 11:19:01 +0100
To: "SW-forum" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Cc: "West, Matthew" <matthew.west@shell.com>
Message-ID: <001101c75d7d$60d670f0$6c7ba8c0@hans>
In this context I would like to bring up something that keeps puzzling me.
The W3C Semantic Web Activity Statement [1] starts with:
"The goal of the Semantic Web initiative is as broad as that of the Web: to
create a universal medium for the exchange of data. It is envisaged to
smoothly interconnect personal information management, enterprise
application integration, and the global sharing of commercial, scientific
and cultural data. Facilities to put machine-understandable data on the Web
are quickly becoming a high priority for many organizations, individuals and
This is great, and it is what we strive for. But it is puzzling how this can
ever be achieved without a universal, generic, data-driven model and
standard data to drive that model. What I see happening is that everybody
can and often does invent instances of owl:Class and owl:ObjectProperty
on-the-fly, and then seems to expect that DL will be the band-aid that
solves all integration problems. In order to assist the reasoners all sorts
of qualifications are added (re OWL1.1), but to me it seems that when this
is done, actually a (rather private) data model is created again.
Above statement envisages the "smooth interconnection" of a plethora of
totally different application domains. That is wise, because we live in one
integrated universe (domain), and nobody can dictate where one subdomain
stops and the other begins. Hence the need for a universal model as a common
denominator. But it is striking that the word "interconnection" was used,
rather than "integration". Interconnection reminds me of EAI [2], so
hub-based or point-to-point, where Semantic Web integration (as I understand
it) involves a web-based distributed data base.
Keeping in mind that, as I wrote before in this thread, application systems
store a lot of implicit data (or actually don't store them), the direct
mapping of their data to the SW formats will cause more problems than its
solves. They are based on their own proprietary data model, and these are
unintelligible for other, equally proprietary, data models.
The thing puzzling me is how the SW community can see what I cannot see, and
that is how on earth you can achieve what your Activity Statement says,
without such a standard generic data model and derived standard reference
data (taxonomy and ontology). But perhaps not many SW-ers bother about the
need of universal integration, and are happily operating within their own
subdomain, such as FOAF.
Can anybody enlighten me, at least by pointing to some useful links?
PS The above does not mean that I have no faith in the SW. On the contrary,
I preach the SW gospel. But I just want to understand where it is moving to.
Hans Teijgeler
ISO 15926 specialist
+31-72-509 2005
HYPERLINK "http://www.infowebml.ws/"www.InfowebML.ws 
HYPERLINK "mailto:hans.teijgeler@quicknet.nl"hans.teijgeler@quicknet.nl

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Received on Saturday, 3 March 2007 10:19:34 UTC

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