LC Responses/TC1

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I'm a bit disappointed with owl2. Just stepping back, considering the domain from the perspective of an internet technologist unfamiliar with semantic web technologies, it's probably confusing that the language used to order, model, or govern the semantic web (which is to be composed of RDF in various manifestations, RDFa for example) won't use RDF itself, and requires tooling to translate between itself and the lowest common denominator of the sem web.

I'm aware that the working group is composed of experts who know much more about this stuff than I do, but I fear that OWL2 will dampen the growth of the practical semantic web unless it's extremely complimentary and supportive of RDF.

Taylor

(see also the extra entry on the Yahoo group list)

See also discussion thread on the list.



To: taylor_cowan@yahoo.com
CC: public-owl-comments@w3.org
Subject: [LC response] To Taylor Cowan

Dear Taylor,

Thank you for your comment
     <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-owl-comments/2009Feb/0003.html>
on the OWL 2 Web Ontology Language last call drafts.

Unfortunately, your comment is based on our fault in not conveying the message clearly enough. The technical fact is that there is _no_ change whatsoever between OWL 1 and OWL 2 in terms of the role of RDF in the structure of OWL 2.

Both in the case of OWL 1 and OWL 2 the structure of OWL is defined via a generic syntax (referred to as "Abstract Syntax" in OWL 1, and "Functional Syntax" in the case of OWL 2) and there is a standard mapping on how the abstract structure can be mapped onto RDF and back. The two available semantics for the OWL constructs are the direct and RDF based semantics. This overall structure has _not_ changed from OWL 1 to OWL 2. Furthermore, section 2.1 of the Conformance and Test Cases[1] document states that the only _required_ exchange syntax among OWL 2 tools is RDF, more specifically RDF/XML. The situation has not changed compared to OWL 1 in this respect either.

The confusion may come from two facts:

  1. the OWL/XML syntax, which was published as a note[2] for OWL 1, is now on Recommendation track (although this does not change its role in terms of exchange syntax)
  2. the RDF based semantics has not yet been published as a Last Call document. This was only a matter of timing; the plan is to have both semantics (and all other documents) published as Recommendations.

All that being said, the Working Group recognizes that this issue may lead to confusion, as witnessed by a number of comments that expressed the same concerns as yours. The group will take appropriate steps in conveying this information better by, eg, including multi-syntax formats into the Structural Specification and Functional-style Syntax document, or making the situation clearer in the appropriate status sections. Details of these steps are not yet decided at this time; you can, however, look at a new Document Overview[3] page that the group is currently working on.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-owl2-test-20081202/#Conformance_.28Normative.29

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/owl-xmlsyntax/

[3] http://www.w3.org/2007/OWL/wiki/Document_Overview

Please acknowledge receipt of this email to <mailto:public-owl-comments@w3.org> (replying to this email should suffice). In your acknowledgment please let us know whether or not you are satisfied with the working group's response to your comment.

Regards,
Ivan Herman
on behalf of the W3C OWL Working Group



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