Vocabulary Interchange

It's going to be quite important for the Semantic Web to make sure that we have interoperability* between different vocabularies*.

I wrote a paper about this.

I think what will happen is, in order to run a particular application, somebody will B annotate the fact that there is a relationship, maybe within their company. For example, we have a database of contacts, and you have a database of employees. And in fact there is some relationship between the two databases, even though they're stored on different systems. So that you can, if you're looking for people in different ZIP codes, sometimes you want to merge the two databases. You want to do a search across them both. And you can enable that just by making a single link, making a few of these semantic links between the databases. So if we have tools that allow you to do that, and then as a result operate from two databases, then initially it will have to be pushed by people driving particular applications, particular queries. Then after a while, for example, everybody will end up linking to the IRS's definition of ZIP code. It'll be a very, very large number that have got this common concept, all these semantic links that basically, when they join together, you'll find some very, very large concepts dying to get out. And then it'll change the whole business of being in this semantic Web. Instead, when you create a form, you'll browse the Web for defining meanings. So you won't just seed a new concept that you've developed - you'll pick it out of a menu of your favorite form program, or you'll go browse the most interesting ones from somewhere else. But to save yourself the trouble of defining things, you'll always use somebody else's definition. Unless you're really creating some unique concept in your own company.
- TimBL, many places including an Internet World article

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