The identity of resources on the Web: An ontology for Web architecture

One of the major events that has caused a resurgence in the use of formal ontologies is the advent of the Semantic Web, which seeks to do for knowledge representation what the Web did for hypertext. Yet while the field of formal ontologies is well-understood, the nature of the Web is rather surprisingly cloaked in mystery. Unlike formal computer science, the Web is constructed mostly out of informally and operationally defined terms built from various specifications, in particular IETF RFCs and W3C Recommendations. In order to better understand the nature of the 'Web' in the Semantic Web, we created a formal ontology called the 'Identity of Resources on the Web' (IRW) ontology. The primary goal of the Semantic Web is to use URIs as a universal space to name anything, expanding from using URIs for web-pages to URIs for real objects and imaginary concepts, as phrased by Berners-Lee. This distinction has often been tied to the distinction between information resources, such as web-pages and multimedia files, and other kinds of Semantic Web 'non-information' resources used in Linked Data. This issue of defining the relationship between URIs and resources is not a mandarin metaphysical matter, but has technical repercussions: the W3C has recommended not to use the same URI for information resources and the resources needed to denote 'non-information resources' for the Semantic Web. Basing our work on the normative specifications of the W3C and IETF, we model the relationship between resources and representations formally in an ontology called IRW (Identity and Reference on the Web). From our point of view, IRW is a beautiful ontology. In this paper we motivate why we consider it as such through the identification of a number of criteria on which we based our evaluation. © 2011-IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

Publication type: 
Author or Creator: 
Halpin H.
Presutti V.
IOS Press, Amsterdam , Paesi Bassi
Applied ontology (Online) 6 (2011): 263–293. doi:10.3233/AO-2011-0095
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Halpin H.; Presutti V./titolo:The identity of resources on the Web: An ontology for Web architecture/doi:10.3233/AO-2011-0095/rivista:Applied ontology (Online)/anno:2011/pagina_da:263/pagina_a:293/intervallo_pagine:263–293/volum
Resource Identifier:
ISTC Author: 
Valentina Presutti's picture
Real name: