Semantic Web/The Power Of Semantic Web Languages

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The main power of Semantic Web languages is that any one can create one, simply by publishing some RDF that describes a set of URIs, what they do, and how they should be used. We have already seen that RDF Schema and DAML are very powerful languages for creating languages.

Because we use URIs for each of the terms in our languages, we can publish the languages easily without fear that they might get misinterpreted or stolen, and with the knowledge that anyone in the world that has a generic RDF processor can use them. The Principle Of Least Power

The Semantic Web works on a principle of least power: the fewer rules, the better. This means that the Semantic Web is essentially very unconstraining in what it lets one say, and hence it follows that anyone can say anything about anything. When you look at what the Semantic Web is trying to do, it becomes very obvious why this level of power is necessary... if we started constraining people, they wouldn't be able to build a full range of applications, and the Semantic Web would therefore become useless to some people. How Much Is Too Much?

However, it has been pointed out that this power will surely be too much... won't people be trying to process their shopping lists on an inference engine, and suddenly come up with a plan for world peace, or some strange and exciting new symphony?

The answer is (perhaps unfortunately!) no. Although the basic parts of the Semantic Web, RDF and the concepts behind it are very minimally constraining, applications that are built on top of the Semantic Web will be designed to perform specific tasks, and as such will be very well defined.

For example, take a simple server log program. One might want to record some server logs in RDF, and then build a program that can gather statistics from the logs that pertain to the site; how many visitors it had in a week, and so forth. That doesn't mean that it'll turn your floppy disc drive into a toaster or anything; it'll just process server logs. The power that you get from publishing your information in RDF is that once published in the public domain, it can be repurposed (used for other things) so much easier. Because RDF uses URIs, it is fully decentralized: you don't have to beg for some central authority to publish a language and all your data for you... you can do it yourself. It's Do It Yourself data management.