Foundations of Semantic Web Technologies  book cover
1st Edition

Foundations of Semantic Web Technologies

ISBN 9781420090505
Published August 6, 2009 by Chapman & Hall
456 Pages 80 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

With more substantial funding from research organizations and industry, numerous large-scale applications, and recently developed technologies, the Semantic Web is quickly emerging as a well-recognized and important area of computer science. While Semantic Web technologies are still rapidly evolving, Foundations of Semantic Web Technologies focuses on the established foundations in this area that have become relatively stable over time. It thoroughly covers basic introductions and intuitions, technical details, and formal foundations.

The book concentrates on Semantic Web technologies standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium: RDF and SPARQL enable data exchange and querying, RDFS and OWL provide expressive ontology modeling, and RIF supports rule-based modeling. The text also describes methods for specifying, querying, and reasoning with ontological information. In addition, it explores topics that are clearly beyond foundations, such as tools, applications, and engineering aspects.

Written by highly respected researchers with a deep understanding of the material, this text centers on the formal specifications of the subject and supplies many pointers that are useful for employing Semantic Web technologies in practice.

The book has an accompanying website with supplemental information.

Table of Contents

The Quest for Semantics

Building Models

Calculating with Knowledge

Exchanging Information

Semanic Web Technologies


Simple Ontologies in RDF and RDF Schema

Introduction to RDF

Syntax for RDF

Advanced Features

Simple Ontologies in RDF Schema

Encoding of Special Data Structures

An Example

RDF Formal Semantics

Why Semantics?

Model-Theoretic Semantics for RDF(S)

Syntactic Reasoning with Deduction Rules

The Semantic Limits of RDF(S)


Ontologies in OWL

OWL Syntax and Intuitive Semantics

OWL Species

The Forthcoming OWL 2 Standard

OWL Formal Semantics

Description Logics

Model-Theoretic Semantics of OWL

Automated Reasoning with OWL


Ontologies and Rules

What Is a Rule?

Datalog as a First-Order Rule Language

Combining Rules with OWL DL

Rule Interchange Format (RIF)

Query Languages

SPARQL: Query Language for RDF

Conjunctive Queries for OWL DL


Ontology Engineering

Requirement Analysis

Ontology Creation: Where Is Your Knowledge?

Quality Assurance of Ontologies

Modular Ontologies: Divide and Conquer

Software Tools


Web Data Exchange and Syndication

Semantic Wikis

Semantic Portals

Semantic Metadata in Data Formats

Semantic Web in Life Sciences

Ontologies for Standardizations

RIF Applications

Toward Future Applications


Extensible Markup Language (XML)

XML in a Nutshell

Syntax of XML

XML Schema

Set Theory

Basic Notions

Set Operations

Relations and Functions




Proof Theory and Decidability

Solutions to the Exercises



A Summary, Exercises, and Further Reading appear at the end of most chapters.

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Pascal Hitzler works in the Kno.e.sis Center at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, USA.

Markus Krötzsch and Sebastian Rudolph work in the institute AIFB at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany.


A 2010 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

… The nine chapters of the book guide the reader through the major foundational languages for the semantic Web and highlight the formal semantics. … the book has very interesting supporting material and exercises, is oriented to W3C standards, and provides the necessary foundations for the semantic Web. It will be easy to follow by the computer scientist who already has a basic background on semantic Web issues; it will also be helpful for both self-study and teaching purposes. I recommend this book primarily as a complementary textbook for a graduate or undergraduate course in a computer science or a Web science academic program.
Computing Reviews, February 2010

This book is unique in several respects. It contains an in-depth treatment of all the major foundational languages for the Semantic Web and provides a full treatment of the underlying formal semantics, which is central to the Semantic Web effort. It is also the very first textbook that addresses the forthcoming W3C recommended standards OWL 2 and RIF. Furthermore, the covered topics and underlying concepts are easily accessible for the reader due to a clear separation of syntax and semantics … I am confident this book will be well received and play an important role in training a larger number of students who will seek to become proficient in this growing discipline.
—From the Foreword, Amit Sheth, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, USA