Semantic Web tools get W3C approval

The consortium governing technical specifications for the Web has given formal approval to two semantic Web technologies.

The World Wide Web Consortium today issued recommendations for the Resource Description Framework and the Web Ontology Language. To access the dozen documents related to the recommendations, go to www.w3.org. The IT industry largely recognizes the consortium's recommendations as de facto standards and uses them to build interoperable software.

Agencies can use both the Resource Description Framework and the Web Ontology Language to describe information so that it can be shared easily across different platforms.

'The deployment of these standards in commercial products and services signals the transition of Semantic Web technology from what was largely a research and advanced development project ' to more practical technology deployed in mass market tools,' according to a consortium statement.

The Resource Description Framework is a set of rules for building uniform computer-understandable descriptions of documents, images, audio files and other objects. The Web Ontology Language defines how to map relationships among different objects based on an organization's domain expertise.

Both technologies are parts of the semantic Web, a concept invented by Tim Berners-Lee, who originated the Web format. Berners-Lee envisioned the semantic Web as a set of standards that could be used by computational devices to discover and understand data across a network.

The Defense Department has been a big supporter of semantic Web development. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Agent Markup Language uses the Resource Description Framework as the basis for building complex data descriptions for use by software-based intelligent agents. DAML, in turn, served as the basis for the Web Ontology Language.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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