Towards a Semantic Web of Evidence-Based Medical Information

Towards a Semantic Web of Evidence-Based Medical Information

Rolf Grutter (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland), Claus Eikemeier (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland) and Johann Steurer (University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2002 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-13-6.ch014


It is the vision of the protagonists of the Semantic Web to achieve “a set of connected applications for data on the Web in such a way as to form a consistent logical Web of data” (Berners-Lee, 1998, p. 1). Therefore, the Semantic Web approach develops languages for expressing information in a machine-processable form (“machine-understandable” in terms of the Semantic Web community). Particularly, the Resource Description Framework, RDF (Lassila & Swick, 1999), and RDF Schema, RDFS (Brickley & Guha, 2000), are considered as the foundations for the implementation of the Semantic Web. RDF provides a data model and a serialization language; RDFS a distinguished vocabulary to model class and property hierarchies and other basic schema primitives that can be referred to from RDF models, thereby allowing for the modeling of object models with cleanly defined semantics. The idea behind this approach is to provide a common minimal framework for the description of Web resources while allowing for application-specific extensions (Berners-Lee, 1998). Such extensions in terms of additional classes and/or properties must be documented in an application-specific schema. Application-specific schemata can be integrated into RDFS by the namespace mechanism (Bray, Hollander & Layman, 1999). Namespaces provide a simple method for qualifying element and attribute names used in RDF documents by associating them with namespaces identified by URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) references (Berners-Lee, Fielding, Irvine & Masinter, 1998).

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