Web Ontology Language

What Does Web Ontology Language Mean?

Web Ontology Language (often stylized as OWL) is a Semantic Web language that is designed to process and integrate information over the web, making sense of it in a manner similar to human reasoning. It is intended to facilitate interpretability among web content using vocabulary and formatting that allows automatic machine processing.


Techopedia Explains Web Ontology Language

The basic ideas behind Semantic Web and Web Ontology Language go back to at least the late 1950s, when the General Problem Solver (GPS) computing device was introduced as one of the first machines that could automatically resolve well-formed logical formulas. Principles of artificial intelligence then gradually evolved to further solidify the precedent for OWL’s application over the web years later. Knowledge representation (KR), for example, seeks to create systems of information that machines can utilize in ways that allow them complex problem-solving ability.

Web Ontology Languages are built upon a standard of the World Wide Web Consortium called Resource Description Framework (RDF). The OWL family has evolved to include many sytaxes and specifications, and has attracted a great deal of interest in fields such as medicine and academia.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.