I am continuing to fiddle around with RDF/OWL. I updated my little index page which summarizes my brainstorming. I added an RSS feed to enable grabbing all of the ontologies with an application. In doing that a question that popped into my mind is whether the "RSS feed" really should also be an ontology or in RDF rather than in RSS. So, I did some checking. I don't know that I got this correct, but I created an ontology of ontologies. I will get to the correct approach, but if you look at this you should have the same questions that I had.
Another thing I tried to do is model all the pieces that I am seeing, which I did in this little box diagram. There are many things that I am seeing from that diagram which I will get to later in other posts. One primary thing I see is something which I touched on before, but now want to expand on a little.
There seems to be a "spectrum" of approaches to implementing a system for exchanging information:
- Something: Some approach, proprietary pieces and standard pieces, does not even have to be XML, it could be JSON based or CSV files, whatever.
- XML + Something: You could use XML and the old approach of a DTD, and a bunch of other proprietary or standard stuff.
- XML + XML Schema + Something: You could use XML and XML Schema plus some other proprietary and standard stuff.
- XBRL + Something: You could use XBRL and some other proprietary and/or standard stuff.
- XML-based Language + Something: You could use some other XML language and then add some other proprietary and/or standard stuff.
- RDF + Something: You could use RDF alone and then add some other proprietary and/or standard stuff.
- OWL/RDF + Something: You could use OWL/RDF and then some other proprietary and/or standard stuff.
This analysis may seem odd, but I see two things. First, each solution needs "something" more. The second is that the something can be a combination of standard and proprietary stuff. That "something" has a cost associated with it.
The truth is you probably have a multitude of systems which exchange information, maybe even one from every option in the spectrum. Well, that is what the Semantic Web is about, solving the problem of multiple formats and using the information from all the different systems as one big set of information. That grand vision is what RDF and OWL are for, the standard format.
So, what is that "something"? Think about it. Knowing that is really the $64,000 question. Knowing the answer helps one choose between the different options. What, you don't exchange business information with anyone? Really.
I will look at breakind down that "something" in later blog posts. Stay tuned...