From: Adam Pease (
Date: 04/03/02

   One very brief answer to why use DAML as opposed to XML is that a set of 
DAML statements by itself (and the DAML spec) can allow you to conclude 
another DAML statement whereas a set of XML statements, by itself (and the 
XML spec) does not allow you to conclude any other DAML statements.  To 
employ XML to generate new data, you need knowledge embedded in some 
procedural code somewhere, rather than explicitly stated, as in DAML.
   For example, the triples

(motherOf subProperty parentOf)
(Mary motherOf Bill)

when stated in DAML, allows you to conclude

(Mary parentOf Bill)

based on the logical definition of "subProperty" as given in the DAML 
spec.  The same information stated in XML does not allow you to assert the 
third fact.  XML itself provides no semantics for its tags.  One might 
create a program that assigns similar semantics to a "subProperty" tag, but 
since that semantics isn't part of the XML spec, applications could be 
written which conform to the XML spec, and yet do not make that assertion.


At 02:50 PM 4/3/2002 -0800, joe rockmore wrote:
>david brings up an excellent point, one that i have been asking (mainly to 
>mike dean) since the program start.  however, i think his problem 
>statement is not quite right, and his potential solution is not what i 
>would recommend.  i wouldn't state the problem as, "why should i use DAML 
>+ OIL," but rather, "what does DAML + OIL provide to me over XML + XML 
>schema + RDF + RDF schema," i.e., over the web languages already being 
>developed and used.  and the solution of a white paper, while valuable, in 
>my opinion must be combined with a short and to-the-point (e.g., one 
>sentence) answer to the question.
>when i have asked various people variations on this question, i have 
>gotten long answers, good examples, language constructs in DAML + OIL that 
>are not in XML + ..., etc.  but what i have not gotten, and i could 
>seriously use in my current dealings, is a straightforward and short 
>explanation of the value added.  the scientific american article, and many 
>other documents, give great explanations of what good the semantic web is, 
>which the naive person (who, for instance, only knows XML or HTML) buys, 
>but the sophisticated person who knows RDF and all the W3C work is harder 
>to convince without this clear value-added statement (especially if he is 
>cynical or doesn't want to be convinced, like the people i am dealing with 
>now).  he can be convinced with much more info, such as in the white paper 
>david suggests, but i still think a one-liner would be valuable to get him 
>to read the details.
>just my 2 cents.
>      ...joe
>a. joseph rockmore, phd       -|-        cyladian technology consulting
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>At 6:38 PM -0800 4/2/02, David Martin wrote:
>>ASSERTION: Some folks, who go to to be convinced they
>>should start using DAML+OIL, are not finding the right kind of material
>>to convince them.
>>I base this statement on recent experience.  SRI has an integrator role
>>in DARPA's BioSPICE program.  Part of this program's mission is to
>>promote interoperation of data and software components used in
>>biological research.  Program participants are currently considering
>>issues about ontologies and languages for use in exchanging data.  Some
>>of them are interested in learning about DAML, and have visited the Web
>>site.  But they are not coming away with a clear picture of why they
>>should use DAML, as opposed to crafting some data exchange standards
>>using (just) XML.
>>My claim is that (believe it or not) the answer to their question ("why
>>should I use DAML+OIL") is not clearly stated anywhere on the Web site,
>>or if it is, it's not easily found.  ***What I think is needed is
>>something like a technical white paper of the sort that technical
>>companies typically make available on their Web sites, the main purpose
>>of which is to state the attractive features and advantages of their
>>technology, in a way that resonates with the audience of potential
>>I'm not finding much like that on  The closest thing is
>>perhaps the Scientific American article, which is great, but not at the
>>right level for these potential "customers".  (It's a good start, but to
>>"make the sell", something less visionary is needed, which talks about
>>the pragmatic benefits that might be expected over the short-term or
>>medium-term, and possibly focuses on the concerns of a particular domain
>>or a particular type of user.)   Several of the "briefings" are almost
>>useful here, but most are either too technical or make too many
>>assumptions about what the audience knows, and of course slides are not
>>generally made to stand alone.
>>QUESTION: Can anyone suggest existing material that might need my
>>current need?  To restate, my current need is to provide materials, to a
>>group of biology researchers, explaining why DAML makes a good
>>foundation for their efforts to express and share data.
>>SUGGESTION: Maybe there should be a new contest (sort of like HotDAML)
>>to produce this sort of material.
>>What I'm suggesting is a contest that aims to produce a collection of
>>materials that aims to win "mindshare" and usage in various potential
>>user communities.  I imagine a collection of white papers, each targeted
>>towards a different type of use or community of users.  For instance, I
>>could imagine writing a white paper explaining how DAML+OIL usage
>>potentially benefits scientific collaboration efforts (such as the
>>BioSPICE community mentioned above).  Another one could focus on the
>>potential benefits for e-commerce, yet another could focus more
>>specifically on Web services, and yet another on benefits for the
>>military community.  Perhaps there could be white papers about more
>>specific domains, such as, say, financial information or real estate or
>>satellite imaging resources. And so forth.  These would be partly
>>technical, but again, their primary purpose would be as "marketing
>>documents"; that is, they would state the attractive features and
>>potential advantages of DAML+OIL use by the targeted community and/or
>>Comments welcome!
>>David Martin

Adam Pease
(650) 424-0500 x571

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