W3C hails semantic Web, Web services usage scenarios

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Wednesday detailed the release of working drafts of its OWL Web Ontology Language to enable development of the Semantic Web.

The Semantic Web is intended to enable more structured, intelligent processes on the Internet, allowing, for example, the automatic lookup of flights and hotel information after a person confirms attendance at a meeting in a specific city, said Ian Jacobs, W3C spokesman, in New York.

"The whole idea of the semantic Web is when you say something, I need to know what you're talking about. The idea is we want computers to know things," Jacobs said. He described development of the Web Ontology Language as being in its early stages.

The OWL Web Ontology Language, in which OWL is to be construed as an acronym for Web Ontology Language, is being designed by the W3C Web Ontology Working Group. The intent is to provide a language that can be used for applications that need to understand content, instead of just human-readable presentation of content, according to W3C. As part of the Semantic Web, machine reability is boosted by XML, RDF, and RDF-S support by providing a vocabulary for term descriptions.

The three working drafts released by W3C are entitled Feature Synopsis, Abstract Syntax, and Language Reference.

W3C this week also released a working draft of its Web Services Architecture Usage Scenarios collection, which is intended to provide usage cases and scenarios for generation of Web services.

Released specifically by the Web Services Architecture Working group of the W3C, scenarios include situations such as travel agent use case or EDI-like purchasing. "They're [W3C officials] documenting the extent of the Web services architecture," Jacobs said. "By looking at scenarios they will establish what they intend or don't intend to cover."

The draft can be found at www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-ws-arch-scenarios-20020730.

Also, the W3C on Aug. 26 is holding an event entitled, "Forum on Security Standards for Web Services," in Boston. At this event, which is to be part of the XML Web Services One Conference & Expo, relationships will be explored between W3C and OASIS Web services and security specifications. OASIS is co-sponsoring the event.

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