Digital Libraries and Web-based Information Systems

It has long been realised that the web could benefit from having its content understandable and available in a machine processable form, and it is widely agreed that ontologies will play a key role in providing much enabling infrastructure to support this goal. In this chapter we review briefly a selected history of description logics in web-based information systems, and the more recent developments related to OIL, DAML+OIL and the semantic web. OIL and DAML+OIL are ontology languages specifically designed for use on the web; they exploit existing web standards (XML, RDF and RDFS), adding the formal rigor of a description logic and the ontological primitives of object oriented and frame based systems.