Knowledge Systems Laboratory
Stanford University

Abstract: A First-Order Logic Semantics for Semantic Web Markup Languages

We present a case study in providing a declarative semantics for three semantic markup languages being developed as ontology representation languages for the Semantic Web by specifying for each language an equivalence-preserving translation into first-order logic (FOL). The translation includes for each language a set of axioms that are included in the resulting FOL theories and that thereby constrain the possible interpretations of those theories. An important advantage of this form of semantics specification is that the axioms can be tested for logical inconsistencies or redundancies, and for whether they entail intended consequences. We describe such tests that we have made on these axioms using existing FOL reasoners. Also, we include a set of theorems that express intended consequences of the axioms and that a FOL reasoner can use to facilitate finding inconsistencies in and answering queries from Semantic Web ontologies.

Richard Fikes, Deborah L. McGuinness, and Richard Waldinger. ``A First-Order Logic Semantics for Semantic Web Markup Languages''. Stanford Knowledge Systems Laboratory Technical Report KSL-02-01 2002. Submitted for publication. abstract. The word version of the paper is available.

Link to Selected Papers of Richard Fikes.
Link to Selected Papers of Deborah L. McGuinness.

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