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Enhanced Multi-Classification Support for the Semantic Web Disclosure Number: IPCOM000222598D
Publication Date: 2012-Oct-18
Document File: 3 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed are methods to help a semantic web tool add more value with its multi-classification support.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 53% of the total text.

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Enhanced Multi-Classification Support for the Semantic Web

One of the strength of the semantic web languages (RDF, RDFS and OWL) is their support of multi-classification, i.e., the ability to classify a resource with more than one class (type). For example, you can say that a resource "John" is both a Teacher and a Manager at the same time, as follows:

However, the support is wide-open to the degree you can assign any combination of types to a resource, even if these combinations do not make sense (at least in some context). For example, you can say that "Jane" is both a Human and a Cat in the same time, as follows:

This is a direct result of the semantic web's open-world assumption that allows statements to be made as long as they are not inherently incompatible or contradicting. In this case, there is no way to express that Cat is incompatible with Human, or that Teacher is compatible with Manager.

Furthermore, in some cases, one class can be considered an extension of a compatible classes. In other words, the extension class cannot be a type of a resource unless an extended class is also a type. This resembles the stereotype idea in UML, where the stereotype (the extension class) cannot be applied unless the object is classified by one the base metaclasses (the extended class) of the stereotype. Notice that this is not the same as class specialization (e.g., using rdfs:subClassOf), since the extension class does not imply that a resource typed by it is also typed by all the extended classes. Rather, it only implies that the resource must also be typed by at least one of the extended classes. Moreover, some of the extensions of the classes may be required. In this case, whenever the extended class is used as a type of a resource, the required extensions must also be types of the same resource. Again, there is no available way in the semantic web languages to express these semantics now.

This invention proposes the following methods:

 To specify compatibility between different classes in a semantic web, in the sense that they can be used together as types of resources. The proposal accomplishes this without compromising the open-world assumption.

 To declare that one class is an extension of one or more compatible classes (i.e., it can only be used as a type of a resource when one of those extended classes is also used)

 To declare that a class is a required extension of one or more of its extended


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