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OWL or OLD?

July 22nd, 2008

I just noticed the “OWL 2 Web Ontology Language: Requirements” document from the OWL Working Group. Interestingly, while the “W” in OWL stands for “Web”, I didn’t see any use case from web applications in the usual sense. As the leading requirements are from the need for domain knowledge bases, I would suggest the name of the new language, instead of OWL 2, to be Ontology Language of Domains (OLD) — Just kidding. OWL claims to be needed by common web users, but such users are surprisingly under-represented in the specification process. We have already seen many specially designed, highly expressive, but, narrowly applied languages in the old KR schools. Do we need to invent yet another one here, again?

Jie

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  1. July 22nd, 2008 at 20:12 | #1

    Well, domain applications can be deployed on the Web: I used “find-a-doctor” service provided my health insurance company website and checked other doctor review websites when I moved in Albany, NY.

    The real question maybe whether the “web ontology” is on the Web and for the Web. When a “web ontology” is stored off the Web, no web users can access it; when it is not designed to enrich the knowledge (e.g. interpret URIs) on the Web, web users won’t bother access it. In these cases, the “web” aspect is missing and we may just use “ontology” instead.

    A lot of domain knowledge needs to be represented during the course of publishing knowledge on the Web, therefore, collecting requirements from domain specific use-cases is fine. These use cases, however, should also show their connections to the Web and how web applications may utilize the required “web ontologies”.

    Finally, “expressivity” is good for assessing ontology language, but not enough for assessing web ontology language. It is a high time to discuss how web ontology language facilitates web applications.

    Li Ding

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  2. July 22nd, 2008 at 23:28 | #2

    Li: I absolutely agree that domain ontologies may be published on the web and be used by web applications. My questions are
    * Are they best modeled by an ontology language which is intended to be a “web” ontology language?
    * Will domain ontologies be the majority of web ontologies?

    For me, I expect web ontologies to be mostly ontologies for common web data: personal homepages, emails, blogs, news articles, wiki pages, IMDB movie descriptions, YouTube videos, Flickr pictures, calendars, discussion groups, online forums, and much more. I wish there are more use cases from such users in any effort to design a web ontology language.

    Jie Bao

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  3. July 23rd, 2008 at 02:57 | #3

    Acrually, I think you are on the right track, just not the same acronym — I’d suggest “OWL DL 2.0″ as the name of the work product of this group – the Full community will take the best of OWL whether it is sanctioned or not, whereas the DL community has to be careful about border cases and exact results — Web 3.0 will not be built promarily on this new language (the point I think Jie is making) and the move away from URIs and RDF will make this less applicable.

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  4. July 23rd, 2008 at 03:35 | #4

    Hi, this is a very useful and urgently needed discussion. I have also been anxious about OWL 2 being build onesided on requirements from the KR community and not taking any requirements that arise from the experience that is currently made with publishing and interlinking data on the Web into account. If I look for instance at the problems that we are facing in the Linking Open Data community (i.e. how to express different degrees and likelinesses of similarity or how express mappings and transformations between data that is represented using different schemata), I don’t think OWL 2 will be very helpful.

    I think OWL 2 will be very useful for exchanging expressive ontologies between knowledge bases. I’m not so sure if it will be very useful for the type of data mashing and mixing that is currently taking place on the Web.

    As the Web Rules Language is already called Rules Interchange Format (RIF), why not also calling the ontology language ‘Ontology Interchange Format’ (OIF) in order to make the use case more clear?

    Cheers

    Chris

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  5. July 23rd, 2008 at 08:21 | #5

    @Jhendler … what ‘move away from URIs and RDF’?

    I assume that apart from a few class-only apps that don’t have instance data, all instances of OWL 2.0 classes will be represented in RDF (and hence compatible with RDFa, GRDDL, etc). Did I miss a memo?

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  6. August 5th, 2008 at 04:52 | #6

    thx you for sharing your experience with us..

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  1. November 25th, 2011 at 04:02 | #1