From: Deborah McGuinness (
Date: 04/04/02

Thanks for the input.  I think it is interesting and worth
reprioritizing some of our work to address this issue.
As someone who has been in KR for the last 20 years, one of the reasons
that I find DAML/OWL/OIL/Semantic Web so fascinating and exciting is
that I feel like we have finally found the needs and interest from
industry that is pulling KR out of the ivory towers and asking it to
help solve important critical path business issues.
I view things such as the w3c webont working group formation as a sign
of starting to win and also view the concrete interest jim points out of
hits to the daml site as starting to win.
I also view the explosion of interest in ontologies as starting to win.

I agree with David, Joe, etc. that we as a community are not meeting the
documentation and education needs of the potential users.  And with my
business/marketing hat on, I would add that our window of opportunity is
NOW to do this and in fact if we do not do it soon, we will loose the
interest of the representative masses.  If they come to our sites and
cant find out why to use our stuff, they won't have time to come back
and they won't be able to make the case to their colleagues and bosses
as to why to use our work over sticking with what they know.

I (and many KR people) have seen this before.  I found in our
experiences pushing description logics out into the real world with
deployed applications that the most important thing we could do was
provide examples, tutorials, walkthroughs, testimonials, working demos,
etc   and that was much more important than adding another expressive
construct to the language and also more important for use than providing
elegant academic papers.

We might take this discussion thread as a call to action to:
1) develop the elevator pitch guha suggested (DAML adds critical things
to the broadly used XML)
2) develop a few simple examples of daml in action (that people might
use as a template for their own quick prototypes)
3) try to answer the hard questions jim brought up
4) get some documentation that people can use along the lines of the
david martin/guha/rockmore suggestions.


Lemmer John F Civ AFRL/IFTB wrote:

> As a potenial DAML +OIL user, but one who will probably not go that
> route, here is my 2 cents worth.  Every new thing like DAML exits
> somewhere in a tradeoff between academic elegance and practical
> utility.  From what I see of DAML, it is way to far from utility and
> way to close to (attempted) elegance.It seems DAML is re-fighting (and
> still not winning) the wars the KR community has been struggling with
> for at least the last 20 years.
>  john
>      -----Original Message-----
>      From: Jim Hendler []
>      Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2002 11:57 PM
>      To: joe rockmore;
>      At 2:50 PM -0800 4/3/02, 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
>       the minute someone sends me a (correct) 1 sentence answer
>      to any of the following questions, I'll be happy to try to
>      cons up an answer to the one above: 1) WHat is the advantage
>      of HTML when SGML exists? 2) What is the advantage of XML
>      when SGML exists? 3) What is the advantage of XML over
>      HTML? 4) What is the advantage of using RDF? 5) What is the
>      advantage of using XML?(ad infinitum)  -Jim H.
>      --
>      Professor James Hendler
>      Director, Semantic Web and Agent Technologies  301-405-2696
>      Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Lab.  301-405-6707
>      (Fax)
>      AV Williams Building, Univ of Maryland  College Park, MD
>      20742
 Deborah L. McGuinness
 Knowledge Systems Laboratory
 Gates Computer Science Building, 2A Room 241
 Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-9020
 (voice) 650 723 9770    (stanford fax) 650 725 5850   (computer fax)
801 705 0941

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