Rule Interchange on the Web

  • Harold Boley
  • Michael Kifer
  • Paula-Lavinia Pătrânjan
  • Axel Polleres
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4636)


Rules play an increasingly important role in a variety of Semantic Web applications as well as in traditional IT systems. As a universal medium for publishing information, the Web is envisioned to become the place for publishing, distributing, and exchanging rule-based knowledge. Realizing the importance and the promise of this vision, W3C has created the Rule Interchange Format Working Group (RIF WG) and chartered it to develop an interchange format for rules in alignment with the existing standards in the Semantic Web architecture stack.

However, creating a generally accepted interchange format is by no means a trivial task. First, there are different understandings of what a “rule” is. Researchers and practitioners distinguish between deduction rules, normative rules, production rules, reactive rules, etc. Second, even within the same category of rules, systems use different (often incompatible) semantics and syntaxes. Third, existing Semantic Web standards, such as RDF and OWL, show incompatibilities with many kinds of rule languages at a conceptual level.

This article discusses the role that different kinds of rule languages and systems play on the Web, illustrates the problems and opportunities in exchanging rules through a standardized format, and provides a snapshot of the current work of the W3C RIF WG.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold Boley
    • 1
  • Michael Kifer
    • 2
  • Paula-Lavinia Pătrânjan
    • 3
  • Axel Polleres
    • 4
  1. 1.University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Computer Science, Institute for Information Technology - e-Business, NRC, 46 Dineen Drive, FrederictonCanada
  2. 2.State University of New York at Stony Brook, Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook, New York 11794-4400USA
  3. 3.University of Munich, Institute for Informatics, Oettingenstr. 67, D-80538 München 
  4. 4.Digital Enterprise Research Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway 

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