Core Technologies for Ontologies

The use of ontologies for data interoperability and Semantic Web technologies relies on a core set of standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c). Using these standards, technology implementers everywhere can deploy solutions that work not only in their individual instance but can work with software and data created and provided by others.

The core technologies that enable this are Extensible Markup Language (XML), Resource Description Framework (RDF), and the Web Ontology Language (OWL). Each of these plays a role in the creation, storage, and use of ontologies.

XML is the backbone of both RDF and OWL, as each of them are built on the extensible programming language platform that is the essence of XML. RDF provides a specialized extension of XML that allows for the description of resources in ontologies using a standardized set of syntax.

OWL builds upon RDF by adding an ontological layer, meaning that the resources described by RDF are capable of being classified and defined by OWL.

In this section of the guide, we will introduce you to these core technologies and provide a brief description of each. In addition, we discuss how to store and access ontologies using several methods. We provide an overview of common software libraries that are used to work with ontologies and, finally, we discuss how computers can analyze ontologies to draw inferences using a specialized technology called inference or reasoning engines.

Suggested Citation

Alexander, P. 2011. "Core Technologies for Ontologies." In The MMI Guides: Navigating the World of Marine Metadata. Accessed July 16, 2020.