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

Re: Rich semantics and expressiveness

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2007 10:46:58 -0500
To: tim.glover@bt.com
Cc: hans.teijgeler@quicknet.nl, semantic-web@w3.org
Message-Id: <20070305154811.DD8204EF6A@homer.w3.org>


> It is ironic that the word "semantic" seems to have become 
> meaningless...

I sometimes joke about how the word "meaning" doesn't seem to have any
meaning any more.  :-) (But in fact it does -- the most effective
definitions I find for "meaning" and "semantics" have to do with
entailments, with consequences, eventually with impact on people's
lives.)

> What are the ambitions of the semantic web? 
...
> Sorry if this is old hat, but I am not sure that the SW community even 
> agree what "semantic" means.

It's about shared impact on our lives, shared experience -- which we're
quite familiar with from the web.  The web works because web addresses
are effective ways to refer for sharable experiences.

Earlier, Hans wrote:
> 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.
...
> 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.

The missing trick, I think, is the "Web" part of "Semantic Web".  The
idea is that whenever you invent an owl:Class or owl:ObjectProperty or
whatever, you put it on the web.  (That's why its name is a URI,
although I recognize there are still some huge practical and theoretical
problems with this vision.)  And then, in theory, the basic social
forces which give us a few good web pages about any subject -- and make
the web useful -- also push toward reuse, maintenance, and improvement
of core ontology elements.

   -- Sandro
Received on Monday, 5 March 2007 15:48:15 UTC

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