summary: Web Ontology WG discussion among AC members

From: Frank van Harmelen (
Date: 08/28/01

For what it's worth, here is my summary of our discussion on the current
discussion on the AC membership list at W3C on the start of the Web
Ontology WG:


The discussion on the AC mailing list can be summarised as follows:
Some  AC rep's argue against starting the Web Ontology group 
on various grounds:

  1. they were not properly consulted (the process seems to have been
     correctly done according to the W3C process, but that doesn't take
     away the feeling)

  2. Ontology languages are research, not standardisation, and should
     not be done by W3C

  3. the Web Ontology group will drain W3C team-resources from other
     more urgent activitites (e.g. various XML activities)

  4. a chicken/egg problem w.r.t. RDF Core: should RDF Core finish
     before the Web Ontology group starts (to give the latter a good
     foundation), or should the Web Ontology group start before RDF Core
     finishes (to give the latter input on what is required for RDF(S)?

The general opinion was that it would be very bad if the start of the
Web Ontology group were delayed, because the Semantic Web community
would be seen to be divided among itself (I would want to add that also
DAML+OIL has its own momentum now, and would be in danger of spinning
out of W3C control).

The opinion on the specific points above was as follows:

  - on 1: the renewed call for review of the Semantic Web activity
    including the Web Ontology WG charter should reassure the AC members
    on this

  - on 2: it should be made clear (by the DAML+OIL joint committee?)
    that DAML+OIL is not cutting edge AI research, but well understood
    research that is now more then a decade old and tested and tried in
    many applications (albeit not Web-applications)

  - on 3: it should be made clear (by the W3C leadership) that this
    is not the case

  - on 4: it should be made clear (by the RDF Core group?) that the
    resolution to this chicken&egg problem is to have the two WG's run
    in parallel, so that they can iterate proposals and feedback (as is
    in fact currently already happening between the DAML+OIL
    joint-committee and RDF Core).

Action items would then be:
2: one of us (Peter?)
3: Tim? 
4: Ora? 

In general, we should encourage known AC representatives to support the
proposed charter (Frank and Ian will approach the OntoWeb membership and
the WonderWeb industrial board for this).


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