What Is OWL (and Why Should I Care)?

Peter F. Patel-Schneider

OWL is the new ontology language produced by the W3C Web Ontology Working Group. OWL is thus poised to be a major formalism for the design and dissemination of ontology information, particularly in the Semantic Web. OWL has influences from several communities, including the RDF community, the Description Logic community, and the frame community. These influences resulted in a wide variety of requirements on OWL, some of which appear to be conflicting. OWL contains innovative solutions to several of these apparent conflicts, but it has not been possible to completely satisfy all the desired requirements for OWL. The talk will describe the development and design of OWL, concentrating on what makes OWL important, the relationship of OWL to other formalisms, the place of OWL in the Semantic Web, the innovative solutions that were required in its design, and the impact of the conflicting requirements on OWL. I will propose a different foundation for the Semantic Web, one that I think would allow for easier and better development of new formalisms for the Semantic Web.

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