Affiliations: Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi), University of Münster, Weselerstr. 253, D-48151 Münster, Germany. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: The Semantic Web emphasizes encoding over modeling. It is built on the premise that ontology engineers can say something useful about the semantics of vocabularies by expressing themselves in an encoding language for automated reasoning. This assumption has never been systematically tested and the shortage of documented successful applications of Semantic Web ontologies suggests it is wrong. Rather than blaming OWL and its expressiveness (in whatever flavor) for this state of affairs, we should improve the modeling techniques with which OWL code is produced. I propose, therefore, to separate the concern of modeling from that of encoding, as it is customary for database or user interface design. Modeling semantics is a design task, encoding it is an implementation. Ontology research, for applications in the Semantic Web or elsewhere, should produce languages for both. Ontology modeling languages primarily support ontological distinctions and secondarily (where possible and necessary) translation to encoding languages.