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Semantic Web Deployment Working Group (SWDWG) Charter

The Semantic Web Deployment Working Group (SWDWG) provides consensus-based guidance in the form of W3C Technical Reports on issues of practical RDF development and deployment practices in the areas of publishing vocabularies, OWL usage, and integrating RDF with HTML documents.


1. Scope

The objective of the Semantic Web Deployment Working Group (SWDWG) is to develop "how to" guidelines that assist users of the Semantic Web in publishing data and vocabularies that describe data in the Semantic Web. Some of these guidelines will be published as Working Group Notes and others will be Recommendation-track documents.

This Working Group is intended to capitalize on work already done both within W3C and outside W3C. In particular, SWDWG takes as it starting point work started in the OEP, PORT, VM, and HTML Task Forces of the Semantic Web Best Practices and Deployment Working Group (SWBPD).

Domain experts produce ontologies, thesauri, and vocabularies for incorporation into the Semantic Web. Though these works are domain-specific, questions arise that are common to each of these efforts on how to take best advantage of the Semantic Web technologies to deploy these works. There are interactions with principles of Web architecture that have evolved since the initial deployment of the Semantic Web and were sometimes overlooked by the early adopters. The established pattern of emulating existing RDF schemas or OWL ontologies can therefore lead to propagating unfavorable practices. There are deployment questions in practical use of OWL that arise repeatedly as new communities investigate how to employ Semantic Web tools. Questions such as how in practice to use OWL to achieve semantic integration across different agents, services, and applications; how to identify multiple versions of a vocabulary; how to manage the contents of the namespace document(s), and more.

The Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS) was developed as part of the SWAD-Europe Thesaurus Activity and subsequently taken up by SWBPD to provide guidelines on porting thesauri to the Semantic Web. SKOS has proven useful in describing the basic structure and content of concept schemes such as thesauri, classification schemes, subject heading lists, taxonomies, 'folksonomies', and other types of controlled vocabularies. SKOS has come to have a sufficiently important role to the community that it merits the rigorous review of the W3C Recommendation Track process. Some SKOS concepts interact with similar features of OWL and those interactions need to be explained in the context of practical deployment considerations.

The SWDWG will continue the work of the previous SWBPD Working Group to produce guidelines and an RDF vocabulary (SKOS) for transforming an existing vocabulary representation into an RDF/OWL representation. The Working Group will also produce guidelines for the most appropriate use of Web protocols to make these representations available in a manner consistent with the work of the W3C Technical Architecture Group. A starting point for this work is the "Best Practice Recipes for Publishing RDF Vocabularies" Working Draft produced by SWBPD.

The SWDWG is chartered to produce additional Working Group Notes on ontology engineering practices appropriate to the deployment of RDF Schema and OWL. These may include, at the discretion of the Working Group participants, further work on time, timezone, and units of measure ontologies in OWL that were started in the OEP task force of the SWBPD Working Group. Specific 'horizontal' vocabularies other than those listed above are outside the scope of this charter.

Finally, the SWDWG is chartered to complete the collaboration with the W3C HTML Activity to specify a W3C Recommendation on incorporating RDF semantics directly into HTML documents. While the expected W3C Recommendation may involve changes to the specification of HTML and is therefore the responsibility of the HTML Activity, practical deployment guidelines within the Semantic Web are the responsibility of SWDWG. The Working Group is tasked to consider two options to meeting requirements it will write in the first 6 weeks of work. The first option is to use XHTML Modularization 1.1 to specify an RDF Semantics module that can be combined with existing W3C XHTML 1.1 modules. The second option is to identify, in close cooperation with the HTML Working Group, changes to XHTML Modularization 1.1 or to other HTML specifications that would lead to an improved technical solution (hereafter called "RDFa") over option 1 and provide requirements to the HTML Working Group against which it can evaluate those suggested changes. The Requirements and Use Cases on Incorporating RDF Semantics Into XHTML Working Draft [to be written in the first 6 weeks] will guide the selection of option 1, option 2, or some combination thereof. The Requirements and Use Cases will include an explanation of how these technologies compare to related efforts such as microformats.

2. Deliverables and Schedule

The Semantic Web Deployment Working Group is chartered to produce the following documents:

  1. A W3C Recommendation for the Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS).
  2. A W3C Technical Report (Working Group Note or Recommendation) on best practice recipes for publishing RDF vocabularies and OWL ontologies using Web protocols. This deliverable specifies the most appropriate means to use HTTP to access RDF schemas and OWL ontologies that are consistent with Architecture of the World Wide Web (plus subsequent TAG findings) and allow for multiple representations (e.g. RDF/XML and HTML) of the vocabulary description.
  3. A W3C Technical Report (Working Group Note or Recommendation) providing guidelines for authors of RDF schemas and OWL ontologies on principles of good practice for publishing such schemas and ontologies including use of namespaces, change management, and versioning.
  4. A W3C Technical Report (Working Group Note or Recommendation) on using OWL to achieve semantic integration across applications.
  5. A W3C Technical Report (Working Group Note or Recommendation) specifying how to incorporate RDF semantics into HTML documents.

This Working Group is chartered through April 30, 2008.

3. Relationship with Other Activities

3.1 W3C-related activities

3.2 External groups

4. Membership, Meetings, and Logistics

Group membership follows section 6.2.1 Working Group and Interest Group Participation Requirements of the W3C Process and is not further constrained.

Participation is expected to consume approximately one half day per week of each Working Group participant's time, including weekly remote meetings.

All proceedings of the Working Group (mail archives, telecon minutes, face-to-face minutes) are available to the public using a mailing list, public-swd-wg@w3.org, and its associated Web archive. The Working Group telecons and face-to-face meetings are not themselves public meetings.

If the Working Group chooses to establish task forces to work in parallel, Working Group participants are not obligated to participate in every task force, however the Working Group as a whole is responsible for the output of each task force. Task force participants are expected to participate in all Working Group face-to-face meetings and telecons.

4.1 Email communication

The mailing list for group communication is public-swd-wg@w3.org with a publicly readable archive.

4.2 Group home page

The Working Group will have a home page that records the history of the group, provides access to the archives, meeting minutes, updated schedule of deliverables, membership list, and relevant documents and resources. The page will be available to the public and will be maintained by the chair in collaboration with the W3C team contact.

4.3 Telephone meetings

The Working Group will hold teleconferences on a regular schedule as agreed by the Working Group participants but at least every two weeks. Participation in teleconferences is limited to Working Group working group members. The Chair may, at his/her discretion, invite guest experts to attend particular phone conferences. An IRC channel will be used to supplement teleconferences.

Meeting records should be made available within two days of each telephone meeting.

4.4 Face-to-face meetings

The Working Group may schedule face-to-face meetings according to W3C meeting notice requirements. Participation in face-to-face meetings is limited to Working Group members and observers invited by the Chair. Observers may take part in decision-making at the discretion of the Chair.

5. Resources

5.1 Working Group participation

To be successful, we expect to have between 8 and 20 active participants for the duration of this Working Group. We also expect a large public review group that will participate in the mailing list discussions.

5.2 W3C team involvement

The W3C Team expects to allocate the equivalent of 20% of a full-time person to this work for the duration of this working group. This time includes the Team Contact effort as well as additional participation.

6. Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.