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Semantic Web

Semantic Web

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Published by gpsaraf
Artificial Intelligence and the Web come together to make the Semantic Web. This paper unfolds the technological reality behind the Semantic Web.
Artificial Intelligence and the Web come together to make the Semantic Web. This paper unfolds the technological reality behind the Semantic Web.

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Published by: gpsaraf on Jul 31, 2008
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06/29/2013

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February
 
10,
 
2008
Semantic
 
Web
1
 
SEMANTIC WEB
UNFOLDIND THE UNDERLYING TECHNOLOGY
Gaurav Saraf,F.E., VIIT, Pune.(+91) 9422500228gpsaraf@gmail.com
ABSTRACT
he everyday Web has experiencedchanging trends since it wasintroduced. We sometimes refer tothe current phase of the web as Web 2.0enriched by community fosteredclassification and exploitation of information. As technology advances astep further, common and open modelingof data forms the basis of a new web; the“Semantic Web.” This simple but radicalidea is materialized by importing theprinciples of knowledge representationfrom Artificial Intelligence. This paper isan attempt to unfold the technologies thatplay their indigenous role in the SemanticLayer that would silently position behindthe current web as an extension, yetproducing unpredictable changes in ourinteraction with the world. The SemanticWeb offers a range of application areas,intelligent automation and real-timescientific publishing being a few. (Thisfuturistic face of the web has been widelyreferred by the phrase Web 3.0) I alsoexplain here the hurdles that still keep theSemantic Web in research labs, which arehowever almost at their solution.
KEY WORDS
Semantics, Artificial Intelligence, Web3.0, Semantic Search, SemanticPublishing, RDF, Web Ontologies.
(I) INTRODUCTION
We may describe the World Wide Web(as we see it today) to be a global set of inter-linked documents. We refer to thesedocuments as WebPages and we mayhave multimedia components interspersedinto them. These documents can be“read” by humans while they are“displayed” by computers. We then findpattern in this data and correlate (orunrelated) it with some other set of data,and this process has its limits beingperformed almost manually. Today, withHTML and a tool to render it (say, a Webbrowser or some other user agent), onecan create and present a page that listsitems for sale. The HTML of this catalogpage can make simple, document-levelassertions such as "this document's title is'LookPretty' Superstore". But there is nocapability within the HTML itself toassert unambiguously that, for example,item number N802 is a Studio16 FaceWash with a retail price of 70 INR, or thatit is a cosmetic product. Rather, HTMLcan only say that the span of text "N802"is something that should be “positioned”near "Studio16 Face Wash" and "70INR", etc. There is no way to say "this isa catalog" or even to establish that"Studio16 Face Wash" is a kind of title orthat "70 INR" is a price. There is also noway to express that these pieces of information are bound together indescribing a discrete item, distinct fromother items perhaps listed on the page.The “Semantic Web” introduces a wholenew spectrum of possibilities in thiscontext by adding an “additional layer” of data definitions and relationships behindthese documents
. The
vision of theSemantic Web is to extend the principleof the Web from documents to data.
[1]
 
This extension will allow fulfilling moreof the Web’s potential, in that it willallow data to be shared effectively bywider communities, and to be processed
T
 
February
 
10,
 
2008
Semantic
 
Web
2
 
automatically by tools as well asmanually. The Semantic Web facilitatesdeployment of machine power in thiscorrelation and usage of data. At its core,the Semantic Web is comprised of aphilosophy, a set of design principles, anda variety of enabling technologies such asthe Resource Description Framework (RDF), a variety of data interchangeformats, notations and the Web OntologyLanguage (OWL).
[2]
 
In the next section the underlyingphilosophy of the Semantic Web isexplained. Section
(III)
elaborates thetechnologies that make it a reality (RDF,OWL, etc.) This is followed by theapplications offered by the Semantic Weband a few problems that it faces.
(II) THE SEMANTIC PHILOSOPHY
 
The Semantic Web is a “web of inter-related data” (compare this to the phrase,“web of inter-connected documents”). Itis an extension to the current World WideWeb in which web content can beexpressed not only in natural language,but also in a format that can be“understood” and “used” by automatedtools (often called as intelligent agents),thus permitting people and machines tofind, share and integrate information moreeasily. The following occurrences wouldhelp us better comprehend the idea: Theword “semantic” in a general contextwould be an adjective for something thatmakes natural sense, such that decisionscan be exercised based upon this sense. Ina similar context of computing, “semanticgap” is a phrase used for a distinguishingcharacter between the high-levelprogramming languages and the machine-level language.The “goals” of the Symantec Web can besummarized as follows:
a)
 
To structure the information over theweb as logically inter-related data.(The formatting cues may be placedand rendered separately)
 
b)
 
To facilitate the use of this sea of databy intelligent software agentscollaborating with each other and withtheir users.
 
c)
 
To introduce “interoperability” inthese relationships also in a way inwhich they can be used in more thanone context.
 
(III) BUILDING BLOCKS
The Semantic Web is knitted with a set of fundamental building blocks. Thefollowing are the technologies developedthat help achieve the above stated goals:
a)
RESOURCE DESCRIPTION FRAMEWORK (RDF)AND RDF/XML
 
RDF has evolved as a general method of modeling information,
 
through a varietyof syntax formats. It provides aspecification to define and describe therelations among data (i.e., resources) onthe Web. This is not unlike the usage of hyperlinks on the current Web thatconnect the current page with anotherone: the hyperlinks define a relationshipbetween the current page and the target.One major difference is that, on theSemantic Web, such relationships can beestablished between
any
two resources,there is no notion of “current” page.Another major difference is that therelationship (i.e., the link) itself is
named 
,whereas the link used by a human on the(traditional) Web is not and their role isdeduced by the human reader. Thedefinition of those relations allow for abetter and automatic interchange of data.RDF, which is one of the fundamentalbuilding blocks of the Semantic Web,gives a formal definition for thatinterchange. These resources are usuallyaddressed by a Uniform ResourceIdentifier (URI) which may or may notbegin with
http:
and yet may or may notbe accessible via HTTP.The relationships are expressed in a“subject-predicate-object” manner. Thesubject of an RDF statement is a resource.
 
February
 
10,
 
2008
Semantic
 
Web
3
 
These RDF statements are written invarious serialization methods includingthe XML syntax (denoted by RDF/XML)and the Notaion-3 format.Suppose we want to assert that the article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India
 
has its“title” as “India” and is published byWikipedia. In the Notation-3 format, wewould write,
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India><http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/title>"India"<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India><http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/publisher>"Wikipedia"
 
In this example,
 http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/title
is aspecific definition for the concept of atitle established by the Dublin CoreMetadata Initiative which is an exampleof controlled vocabularies imparted toRDF. This simple data can be utilized(along with many other sets of data) forperforming a “semantic search” byintelligent agents in an attempt to say,organize all information that Wikipediahas on India!Such relationships lead to the formationof a “pseudo-graph” inter-connecting allconcerned data. This forms the ideabehind Web Ontologies.
b) XML SCHEMA, RDF SCHEMA AND THE WEBONTOLOGY LANGUAGE (OWL)
The above stated data modeling hasresources and relationship amongst theseresources that need to be defined andrestricted. This is conveniently achievedby certain “Schemas.” XML Schema is alanguage for providing and restricting thestructure and content of elementscontained within XML documents.
 
RDFSchema is a vocabulary for describingproperties and classes of RDF-basedresources, with semantics for generalized-hierarchies of such properties and classes.
 
However these vocabularies need to beprovided with extensibility andinteroperability. OWL adds morevocabulary for describing properties andclasses: among others, relations betweenclasses (e.g. disjointness), cardinality (e.g."exactly one"), equality, richer typing of properties, characteristics of properties(e.g. symmetry), and enumerated classes.
c) SPARQL
The SPARQL is a protocol and querylanguage for semantic web data sources.
 
Its name is a recursive acronym thatstands for “SPARQL Protocol and RDFQuery Language.” Compare this to theStructured Query Language (SQL) that ispopularly used in the traditional web.
d) THE SERVER SIDE SEMANTICS
The Servers of the Semantic Web wouldbe servers which expose existing datasystems using the RDF and SPARQLstandards. Many converters to RDF existfrom different applications. Relationaldatabases are an important source. Thesemantic web server components (if addressed in a loose language!) attach tothe existing system without affecting itsoperation.
e)
 
THE CLIENT SIDE SEMANTICS
 To experience the Semantic Web, the userwould require nothing more than any of today’s browsers. This is because theconcept of semantic web brings about acomplete change in the way informationis presented, most of which happensbehind the scenes, not necessarilyaffecting the way information isdisplayed. It however ushers a new (andin fact unpredictable) user experience.However the Semantic Web doesfacilitate the deployment of new“intelligent software agents” that canperform advanced and complexautomated tasks that can hardly beimagined in the world of the traditionalweb.

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