Web Ontology Language: OWL

  • Grigoris AntoniouEmail author
  • Frank van Harmelen
Part of the International Handbooks on Information Systems book series (INFOSYS)


The expressivity of RDF and RDF Schema that was described in [12] is deliberately very limited: RDF is (roughly) limited to binary ground predicates, and RDF Schema is (again roughly) limited to a subclass hierarchy and a property hierarchy, with domain and range definitions of these properties.

However, the Web Ontology Working Group of W3C [10] identified a number of characteristic use-cases for Ontologies on the Web which would require much more expressiveness than RDF and RDF Schema. It proceeded to define OWL, the language that is aimed to be the standardised and broadly accepted ontology language of the Semantic Web.

In this chapter, we first describe the motivation for OWL in terms of its requirements, and the resulting non-trivial relation with RDF Schema. We then describe the various language elements of OWL in some detail.


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    D. McGuinness, F. van Harmelen (eds.). OWL Web Ontology Language Overview
  2. 2.
    F. van Harmelen, J. Hendler, I. Horrocks, D. McGuinness, P. Patel-Schneider, L. Stein. In: M. Dean, G. Schreiber (eds.), OWL Web Ontology Language Reference
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    J. Hefflin. Web Ontology Language (OWL) Use Cases and Requirements Further interesting articles related to DAML+OIL and OIL include:
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FORTH-ICS and Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of CreteCreteGreece
  2. 2.Department of AIVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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