W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org > April 2002

Re: schema

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 07:50:21 -0400
Message-ID: <3CC93EFD.8080703@mitre.org>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
CC: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
Dan Brickley wrote:



> Another worry re terminology is that we have two Semantic Web working
> groups. One group calls RDF schemas 'schemas', the other calls them
> 'ontologies'. To date we've not really used the latter term in RDF Core
> specs. I personally don't like it, but that's not important. What is
> importnat is terminological consistency at least within the RDF-based
> corner of W3C's work. I'm stumped as to what we do about that. People will
> ask us (of some RDF/XML schema that uses WebOnt machinery) whether it is
> an 'ontology' or a 'schema'. Maybe we don't need an answer, but it does
> seem a bit odd to not know collectively (in WebOnt + RDF Core) what we
> think we're talking about. Editorial suggestions / contribs on this
> welcomed...

Before we contemplate changing what we're calling a "schema" to an 
"ontology", I'd like to get WebOnt's official blessing on the idea that 
what we actually have in an RDF schema is an ontology (primitive, 
perhaps, but an ontology).  Do they really consider RDF Schemas to be 
ontologies?  There have been very extensive debates in various circles 
on exactly what you have to have in a language in order to claim you 
have an "ontology" and, if we're going to get involved in such debates, 
I'd want to make sure the W3C semantic web groups at least are speaking 
with a reasonably common voice.  My own response to someone who asked 
whether an RDF Schema was a schema or an ontology would be "it's not an 
"or" kind of question".   If they asked whether an XML Schema was a 
schema or an ontology, my response would be "depends on what you intend 
to use it for" (we have some XML schemas that claim to be ontologies, 
and in a sense they're probably right).


Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-875
Received on Friday, 26 April 2002 07:40:07 UTC

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