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).
In the next section the underlyingphilosophy of the Semantic Web isexplained. Section
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:
To structure the information over theweb as logically inter-related data.(The formatting cues may be placedand rendered separately)
To facilitate the use of this sea of databy intelligent software agentscollaborating with each other and withtheir users.
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:
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
two resources,there is no notion of “current” page.Another major difference is that therelationship (i.e., the link) itself is
,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
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.