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Where are the semantics in the semantic Web services?

From: Shi, Xuan <xshi@GEO.WVU.edu>
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 08:51:35 -0400
Message-ID: <D81F456794C18B4DA3E2ABC47DBBEEF2094D4F@www.geo.wvu.edu>
To: "'www-ws@w3.org'" <www-ws@w3.org>
Cc: "Shi, Xuan" <xshi@GEO.WVU.edu>

Recently I read Michael Uschold's paper "Where are the semantics in the
semantic Web?" again and have such a question as "Where are the semantics in
the semantic Web services?" for discussion. URL to Uschold's paper:

I specially appreciate the "law of the semantic web" as he said by the end
of the paper "The more agreement there is, the less it is necessary to have
machine-processible semantics". I think it's the same to semantic Web

For this reason, I would like to ask whether there is any agreement when we
develop ontology/semantics for semantic Web services? It seems the service
providers will generate their own ontologies for their services for semantic
description. The result is we need "Ontology translation for
interoperability among semantic Web services" as written by Mark Burstein.

Why W3C could not take the role as coordinator to set up domain specific
agreement as standard for service providers for reference when they build
their service description? In this way we may not need to much afterward
discussion on such semantic interoperability issues?

Question 2 still is whether semantic Web technology (RDF/OWL) is suitable
for semantic Web services? RDF/OWL are good at defining the "nouns" not
"verbs". We can define one object is a subclass of another object. But how
can we define one function is a subclass of another function? Such as in
OWL-S approach, "BookSelling" is a subclass of "SellingService" and
"SellingService" is a subclass of the root ontology class "e_Service". Do we
need to find some other ways to define the relationship of "verbs"?

What I am trying to do is to encode GIS Knowledge and Methodologies into a
Semantic Web Service for mapping. Initial knowledge management analysis
indicates that at least, the following knowledge about map and mapping as
well as Web Services should be used to describe the service semantics for
the possible mapping service:

1. Knowledge about source data and information (raster, vector, TIN, etc.) 

2. Knowledge about map product (elements: map, legend, north arrow, scale
bar/text, framework, text description, logo/image, etc.)

3. Knowledge about mapping process (add/remove data layers, page setup,
symbol, label, color, size, position & confliction, inset map, map elements,

4. Knowledge about service interaction (server-definition vs.
client-specification, map coverage vs. data coverage, QoS, error message,

How can we describe semantics so that the requesters can understand whether
this service is what they are looking for? For example, if I provide a
mapping service for West Virginia, then it's useless to you in GA. WSDL
interface itself may not be very complicated in this case since the service
provider may only provides such a service with limited functionality, such
as ESRI's or google map. However, engineering GIS knowledge into semantic
Web services has to consider more possibilities. Thus the task for service
description may even be heavier than developing the functions. Is OWL/RDF
good for the service description in such complex situations?

Any comments and suggestions to this message will be greatly appreciated. 
Received on Friday, 16 September 2005 12:50:48 UTC

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