Semantics: A Guide to the Jargon

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Every field of endeavor tends to develop its own vocabulary, and the field of semantics is no exception. (Special symbols are at the end.)

This glossary is not meant to be exhaustive, but it does include many of the terms you are likely to encounter as you explore this area.

Please contact me with any errors or omissions so that I can correct future versions: mccomb@semanticarts.com

Some of these terms are from Semantics in Business Systems by Dave McComb. Courtesy Morgan Kaufmann, (c) copyright 2004 Elsevier. All rights reserved. www.mkp.com

A

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

abduction

  

  

  

logic

  

  

  

Creation of a hypothesis about probable causes from patterns observed. This is the primary source of new knowledge. Data mining is essentially an abductive process. See induction anddeduction.

  

  

  

ABox

  

  

  

Assertional Box (in OWL or DL)

  

  

  

Inferences on instances (assertions). Essentially reasoning on instances, similar to the way SQL reasons over instances in a database. Also, extensional. See TBox.

  

  

  

abstract

  

  

  

class or ontology design

  

  

  

More generalized representation, animal is more abstract thanbear.

  

  

  

accretive

  

  

  

change

  

  

  

Gradual change, which is typically accommodated by a system structure. In nature, the depositing of silt on a river bend is an accretive change. Overflowing the bank and creating a new channel is an evulsive change.

  

  

  

acyclic

  

  

  

hierarchy, graph, network

  

  

  

Not cyclic; does not loop recursively. If you were one of your own ancestors, you would have a cyclic family tree.

  

  

  

agent

  

  

  

software

  

  

  

Autonomous software program acting on a user’s behalf.

  

  

  

aggregate

  

  

  

modeling (UML, ER)

  

  

  

Type of relationship that implies ownership (UML, ER).

  

  

  

alias

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Synonym.

  

  

  

ambiguity

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Definition or identification that leaves uncertainty as to the specific assignment of referent to thing.

  

  

  

annotation

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

The addition of qualifying or contextual information to text or an interface description.

  

  

  

annotation

  

  

  

OWL

  

  

  

Properties that are not interpreted by the inference engine. They can include comments plus a large number of other properties that could be interpreted by other processors.

  

  

  

antonymy

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Sense relation between two words with opposite meanings. Examples: light/dark, dead/alive, slow/quick.

  

  

  

assert

  

  

  

logic programming

  

  

  

Establish a fact (e.g., assert that Jones is Employee 1234).

  

  

  

association

  

  

  

modeling (UML, ER)

  

  

  

Type of relationship that does not imply ownership.

  

  

  

associative database

  

  

  

modeling

  

  

  

Style of database design, using sentences to describe associations.

  

  

  

asynchronous

  

  

  

messaging

  

  

  

Message transmission without a “block and wait” for response.

  

  

  

atom

  

  

  

standard

  

  

  

An ontology for describing RSS feeds in XML.

  

  

  

attribute

  

  

  

modeling (OO, UML, ER)

  

  

  

A property of an entity, other than a relationship.

  

  

  

axiom

  

  

  

logic

  

  

  

Description of self-evident truth.

  

  

  

B

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

   

behavior

    

    

    

object-oriented software

    

    

    

Methods that execute code.

    

    

    

binary

    

    

    

relationship

    

    

    

Two-way relationship. A relationship with an inverse.

    

    

    

bind

    

    

    

software

    

    

    

Attaching a request to an implementation. Implementations are in specific technologies, and to invoke them one has to attach an often abstract description of a request to the specific module that will invoke it. Adaptors bind to applications.

    

    

    

BPEL

    

    

    

business process execution language [for Web services]

    

    

    

Standards for the definition of multiple step Web service-mediated process flow.

    

C

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

canonical

  

  

  

message/model

  

  

  

An accepted standard. In message modeling, it is the process of declaring a standard for message content rather than allowing each project to define its own.

  

  

  

cardinality

  

  

  

modeling

  

  

  

Constraint on the number of successors on a relationship. The cardinality for the relationship "biological mother" is 1; for "biological child" it is 0 or greater.

  

  

  

cardinality

  

  

  

description logic(s)

  

  

  

Type of class restriction that limits the members of a class to those with the requisite number of unique property assertions.

  

  

  

categorize

  

  

  

modeling

  

  

  

To ascribe an instance to a knowledge-level group, for the purpose of inferring additional information about the instance.

  

  

  

causation

  

  

  

modeling

  

  

  

Relationship with teleologic attribute. For instance, travel causes displacement/motion.

  

  

  

CDATA

  

  

  

XML/HTML

  

  

  

Character data that is meant to be ignored by the parser (e.g., images). See PCDATA.

  

  

  

class

  

  

  

object-oriented

  

  

  

Definition of attributes and behaviors for a type of instance. Basic modules for object-oriented development (OO). In OO,class and type are nearly synonymous, but the slight difference causes considerable problems.

  

  

  

cohesion

  

  

  

software design

  

  

  

Property of a module in which all the parts belong together. In a cohesive module all the parts are closely related; there are no extraneous parts.

  

  

  

column

  

  

  

database

  

  

  

Attribute for relational databases.

  

  

  

commitment to ontology

  

  

  

Semantic Web

  

  

  

Declaration that a domain or document makes in terms of using and agreeing with the meaning of terms from a particular ontology. Key to different documents being able to intercommunicate.

  

  

  

common logic

  

  

  

standard

  

  

  

Framework for a set of knowledge representation standards.

  

  

  

complete

  

  

  

OWL

  

  

  

A class that has necessary and sufficient conditions. A restriction class.

  

  

  

compound

  

  

  

words

  

  

  

Group of individual words whose meaning can only be known in combination (e.g., World Series).

  

  

  

conceptual model

  

  

  

modeling

  

  

  

Model independent of implementation.

  

  

  

conceptualization

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Abstract, simplified view of the world that we wish to represent for some purpose.

  

  

  

conjunction

  

  

  

logic

  

  

  

And./country-region />

  

  

  

consortium

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Group of companies.

  

  

  

constraints

  

  

  

database/ontology

  

  

  

Predicates which must be true or else transactions will not be committed.

  

  

  

content

  

  

  

data

  

  

  

Intellectual property. Often documents or messages.

  

  

  

controlled vocabulary

  

  

  

standards

  

  

  

Pre-defined list of allowable terms with definitions.

  

  

  

co-occurrence analysis

  

  

  

approach

  

  

  

Using contiguousness as a clue for evaluation of relatedness. That is, if two terms show up near each other in text, they are likely related.

  

  

  

cosmology

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Subdiscipline of metaphysics which concerns itself with the nature of being.

  

  

  

Cyc

  

  

  

project

  

  

  

From encyclopedia, a project to capture and express the axioms needed for a machine to reason equivalently to a human.

  

  

  

Cyc

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Ontology built by Cycorp to support common sense reasoning.

  

  

  

CycL

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Inference language used in Cyc.

  

  

  

D

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

DAG

  

  

  

directed acylic graph

  

  

  

Graph (network) in which all the nodes are connected and prevented from looping.

  

  

  

DAML

  

  

  

DARPA agent markup language

  

  

  

Pre-OWL extensions to RDF to create ontologies for the Semantic Web.

  

  

  

DAML+OIL

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

DAML and OIL are used together often enough that the combination is referred to as DAML+OIL.

  

  

  

DARPA

  

  

  

Defense Advanced Research Project Agency

  

  

  

Funding source for early Internet and currently the Semantic Web.

  

  

  

declared membership

  

  

  

semantics, DL

  

  

  

A class where the intention of the designers is to have users declare that instances/individuals are members of the class. See derived membership.

  

  

  

deduction

  

  

  

logic

  

  

  

To infer knowledge of an instance from its membership in a category or type. The process of using knowledge but not of creating it.

  

  

  

definition

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Description of what something means; often sufficient for humans, rarely sufficient for software agents.

  

  

  

delimiters

  

  

  

messages

  

  

  

Separators in a message that allow a parser to know where one element starts and ends.

  

  

  

dependency

  

  

  

software design

  

  

  

Recognition that one software component will be adversely affected if another one changes. Most software has dependencies on its operating system, but will also have dependencies of an often deep stack of other software components.

  

  

  

derived membership

  

  

  

semantics, DL

  

  

  

A class where the intention of the designers is to have instances/individuals be assigned membership by a reasoning engine.

  

  

  

Description Logic(s)

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Computer Sciences specialization that uses formal language to define classes. OWL/DL is a standard for describing Description Logic.

  

  

  

design time

  

  

  

software

  

  

  

Refers to things that need to be changed when the software is being designed (or modified). For example, a scheduling algorithm is normally a design-time choice. However, it is possible to design an architecture in which the algorithm is a run-time option that could be selected by a user or another software component.

  

  

  

dialect

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Subset of a language agreed to by a group of people. Similar to an ontology, with the members of the group who share the dialect being committed to the ontology.

  

  

  

dictionary

  

  

  

database

  

  

  

Place where metadata for the definition of tables, columns, and so on are stored.

  

  

  

dictionary

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Collection of word definitions, with the purpose of distinguishing closely related words. Most dictionaries contain considerable encyclopedia functionality, which obscures their distinction function.

  

  

  

dimension

  

  

  

data warehousing

  

  

  

One of the axes in a data warehouse that can be used to query or summarize the facts in the warehouse.

  

  

  

directed

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

In a network model the property that says whether the arcs have "arrows." A project plan is "directed" in that the precedent relationships go in a particular direction. A thesaurus is undirected in that the definitions are only related, without having a direction to them.

  

  

  

directed graph

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

Graph in which the arcs are directed.

  

  

  

disambiguate

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Process of selecting between alternate, ambiguous interpretations. Conversationally, people do this by asking, "Do you mean x or y?"

  

  

  

disjoint

  

  

  

semantics, DL

  

  

  

Two classes, sets or individuals can not have overlapping membership. Male and Female are disjoint.

  

  

  

disjunction

  

  

  

DL

  

  

  

“Or” The disjunction of two statements is true if either is true.

  

  

  

distinction

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

To set up rules for disambiguating closely related concepts.

  

  

  

DL

  

  

  

Desciption Logics

  

  

  

A form of formal logic that focuses on inference, which as been adopted by the Semantic Web in the form of OWL/DL.

  

  

  

DMOZ

  

  

  

directory Mozilla

  

  

  

Group of volunteers who categorize web sites.

  

  

  

Dolce

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

EU/Wonder Web sponsored Upper Ontology.

  

  

  

domain

  

  

  

database

  

  

  

The set of valid values of an attribute, i.e., its type. Note: this is very different form the ontology definition of domain below.

  

  

  

domain

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

A restriction on the classes that are the subject of a property relationship.

  

  

  

DTD

  

  

  

document-type definition

  

  

  

Schema language for SGML, and XML.

  

  

  

Dublin/city /> Core

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Standard ontology for documents.

  

E

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

EAI

  

  

  

enterprise application integration

  

  

  

Industry and products involved in making the interfacing of applications more economical.

  

  

  

EII

  

  

  

enterprise information integration

  

  

  

Architecture where federated queries are used to create an integrated view over many databases.

  

  

  

element

  

  

  

XML

  

  

  

Atomic unit of meaning in XML.

  

  

  

EMM

  

  

  

enterprise message model

  

  

  

A set of messages taken in the aggregate that represent the shared information in an organization.

  

  

  

encyclopedia

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

A description of what is known about a concept. This is distinct from distinguishing one concept from another, closely related, concept.

  

  

  

entailment

  

  

  

logic

  

  

  

Semantic implication within a context, for example buyingentails paying.

  

  

  

entity extraction

  

  

  

unstructured data

  

  

  

Process of identifying concepts found in documents and tagging them to a predefined ontology.

  

  

  

epistemology

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge.

  

  

  

equivalent

  

  

  

logic

  

  

  

Two representations of the same thing.

  

  

  

ER

  

  

  

entity relationship

  

  

  

Style of data design focused on the definition of entities and their relationship to each other.

  

  

  

evulsive

  

  

  

changes, especially to a system

  

  

  

Rapid, discontinuous change (e.g., a change to a data structure that breaks dependent modules).

  

  

  

explicit

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Formal expression of knowledge.

  

  

  

extensible

  

  

  

database or model

  

  

  

Capable of being added to accretively. An extensible data structure is one that additive changes can easily be made. Relational databases are extensible at the table level, in that columns can be added to tables without requiring programs to be rewritten.

  

  

  

extensional

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

A set defined by a specific list. The states of the United States is an extensional set. See intensional.

F

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

faceted

  

  

  

taxonomy

  

  

  

Having the orthogonally distinct aspects of a taxonomy separated so that each can be dealt with independently.

  

  

  

FOAF

  

  

  

friend of a friend

  

  

  

Ontology about people and their properties.

  

  

  

FOL

  

  

  

First Order Logic

  

  

  

Branch of logic dealing with predicate-based reasoning.

  

  

  

folksonomy

  

  

  

taxonomy

  

  

  

A set of tags made up on the fly by end users to organize a body of work. Almost always a navigational taxonomy. Seenavigational.

  

  

  

formal

  

  

  

taxonomy

  

  

  

A taxonomy where all the relationships are “isa” relationships, which can therefore be used in inference.

  

  

  

functional

  

  

  

DL

  

  

  

Characteristic of a property which guarantees that there is only a single object. “BiologicalMother” is a functional property.

G

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

generalize

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

To create a more abstract definition or category.

  

  

  

Gist

  

  

  

upper ontology

  

  

  

A minimal upper ontology. available at gist-ont.com

  

  

  

glossary

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Dictionary.

  

  

  

grammar

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Set of rules for ordering vocabulary items. In computer science may be expressed formally.

  

  

  

granularity

  

  

  

service

  

  

  

Size of the service. A service with a high level of granularity is referred to as being fine-grained and one with a low-level is coarse-grained.

  

  

  

graph

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

A model of entities (nodes) connected to relationships (arcs).

  

  

  

grid

  

  

  

architecture

  

  

  

A topology where large numbers of processors can contribute to solving one problem.

  

  

  

grounding

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Connection of implication to empirical data. How we connect pure thought to the real world.

H

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

hierarchy

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Tree-style arrangement of terms or classes in which each child has only one parent (single inheritance).

  

  

  

homonym

  

  

  

linguistics

  

  

  

Two different meanings sharing the same word and the same spelling (e.g., mogul the emperor versus mogul the ski bump).

  

  

  

HTML

  

  

  

hypertext markup language

  

  

  

Tag language on which the World Wide Web is based. Markup is for presentation only.

  

  

  

http

  

  

  

hypertext transfer protocol

  

  

  

Standard request to Web servers. Protocol on which much of the World Wide Web is based.

  

  

  

hypernymy

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Word of a more specific meaning; for example, "Arabian" is a kind of "horse."

  

  

  

hyponymy

  

  

  

lexical

  

  

  

Inverse of hypernymy; for example,”mammal” is a more general type than “horse.”

  

I

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

identify

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

To associate the description of an entity with its real-world counterpart.

  

  

  

identity

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

That which we perceive to be permanent about a perceived real-world entity; the identity of a person or an organization.

  

  

  

idiolect

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Dialect spoken by an individual.

  

  

  

individual

  

  

  

OWL or DL

  

  

  

An individual object as distinct from a type of object or class. This is often used synonomously with instance although that actually describes the membership of an individual in a class.

  

  

  

induction

  

  

  

logic

  

  

  

Process of creating categories from instances. Probabilistic reasoning.

  

  

  

inference

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Reasoning from known propositions.

  

  

  

inference engine

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

A software program that can assign members to classes based on formal class definitions. Synonym of reasoner.

  

  

  

inheritance

  

  

  

software

  

  

  

The accretion of properties and behaviors from a hyponym.

  

  

  

instance

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Individual objects that belong to a class are referred to as instances of that class, e.g., Dave McCombis an instance of the class Person. Individuals can be instances of several classes.

  

  

  

instances

  

  

  

software or data

  

  

  

Specific individual groups of data, usually created from some sort of template. In object-oriented systems, calling “new()” on a class creates an object that is of the type of the class. In a database system, inserting a row in a table creates an instance of that entity.

  

  

  

instantiate

  

  

  

software

  

  

  

The act of creating an instance of a class.

  

  

  

intensional

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

A set defined by rules. Each time the rules are executed you might get a different set. The set of customers with overdue balances is an intensional set. Opposite of extensional.

  

  

  

intentional

  

  

  

programming

  

  

  

A programming language and style, where the “intention” of the developer is captured separate from the details of the implementation.

  

  

  

inverse of

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

For bidirectional relationships, the one that "goes the other way" ("child" is the inverse of "parent").

  

  

  

isa

  

  

  

model (type to type)

  

  

  

Shorthand for the specialization/generalization relationship. Basis for inheritance in object-oriented design. Seesubsumption.

  

  

  

isa

  

  

  

model (instance to type)

  

  

  

Member of, as in Dave (instance) isa Person (type or class). The two forms of isa are often confounded.

J

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

Jena

  

  

  

framework

  

  

  

Open source Java-based framework built by HP Labs for building RDF-based Semantic Web applications.

K

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

keyword

  

  

  

content

  

  

  

To find content, we extract some of the less common words from a document and index them back to their location in the document.

  

  

  

KIF

  

  

  

knowledge interchange format

  

  

  

A standard format for exchanging rules between AI systems.

  

  

  

knowledge

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

An agent has knowledge of a scenario or context to the extent that it has a model that provides some degree of predictability.

  

  

  

knowledge level

  

  

  

AI, modeling

  

  

  

Part of a model in which you reason about the behavior of the system rather than its implementation.

  

  

  

L

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

lexical

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Having to do with words, as in a lexical analysis of text.

  

  

  

lexicographer

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Person who writes dictionaries.

  

  

  

lexicon

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Computer-readable dictionary of attributes.

  

  

  

linguistic

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Pertaining to language.

  

  

  

literal

  

  

  

data

  

  

  

Constant variable (sounds like an oxymoron).

  

  

  

lumpers

  

  

  

categorizers

  

  

  

A category of categorizers who tend to group things into fewer, larger categories. See splitters.

  

  

M

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

mandatory

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

In a relationship, a constraint that a particular relationship must have at least one successor.

  

  

  

Markov

  

  

  

algorithm

  

  

  

Statistical algorithm for finding patterns and predicting similarity in unstructured documents.

  

  

  

markup

  

  

  

language

  

  

  

Annotating documents by inserting matching tags to offset certain sections.

  

  

  

mashups

  

  

  

UI

  

  

  

Web based user interface where integration is done in the browser using data from multiple sources.

  

  

  

mereology

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Study of part/whole relationships. See partonomy.

  

  

  

meronomy

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Terms related through a part/whole relationship; also spelled meronymy. Sometimes called metonymy.

  

  

  

message

  

  

  

object-oriented design

  

  

  

Object-oriented design refers to a method call as a message, even though it is a function call.

  

  

  

message

  

  

  

SOA

  

  

  

The unit of work in an SOA, often serialized as XML.

  

  

  

meta

  

  

  

general

  

  

  

To transcend or go above. For most of computer science in means "about," as in “metadata is data about data."

  

  

  

metadata

  

  

  

data

  

  

  

Data about data. Includes data which describes how data is stored, where it is stored, how it is validated, and what it means.

  

  

  

metametadata

  

  

  

data

  

  

  

Data about metadata (usually at a high level of abstraction).

  

  

  

metaphysics

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Branch of philosophy that deals with understanding the fundamental nature of everything, particularly the relationship of mind to matter.

  

  

  

metonymy

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

See meronomy.

  

  

  

microformats

  

  

  

approach + standards

  

  

  

An approach to embedding small bits of semantics in XML or XHTML.

  

  

  

model-theoretic semantics

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

An account of meaning in which sentences are interpreted in terms of a model of, or abstract formal structure representing, an actual or possible state of the world.

  

N

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

N3

  

  

  

Notation 3

  

  

  

Shorthand way of writing rules in Semantic Web.

  

  

  

namespaces

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Domain within which a name is guaranteed to be unique and findable.

  

  

  

navigational

  

  

  

taxonomy

  

  

  

Non-formal taxonomies intended to aid users in finding information in a large source.

  

  

  

NLP

  

  

  

natural language processing

  

  

  

Branch of artificial intelligence that deals with interpreting and generating humanlike speech.

  

  

  

node folding

  

  

  

RDF

  

  

  

Process whereby a large number of independently defined “triples” are combined into a logical graph.

  

  

  

nomenclature

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

Set of names for terms in a given domain.

  

  

  

nominalization

  

  

  

linguistics

  

  

  

To convert a verb to a noun. Used in software programs to create a handle for a method.

  

  

  

normalization

  

  

  

database

  

  

  

Arrangement of attributes to tables in a relational design so as to avoid update anomalies. Ensuring that each property is dependent only on the primary keys of its table.

  

  

  

Notation3

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Shorthand way of writing rules in Semantic Web.

  

O

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

OIL

  

  

  

ontology inference layer

  

  

  

Standard for defining and interchanging ontologies.

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Specification of a conceptualization.

  

  

  

OO

  

  

  

object oriented

  

  

  

Style of programming that features data hiding within classes, and type and property inheritance.

  

  

  

ORM

  

  

  

object role modeling

  

  

  

Conceptual design notation focused on role modeling. Enables good modeling, especially for relationships of higher valence.

  

  

  

orthogonal

  

  

  

categorization

  

  

  

Literally "at right angles." Refers to finding aspects of categorization that are as independent of each other as possible.

  

  

  

OWL

  

  

  

Web ontology language

  

  

  

Successor to DAML + OIL a W3C standard. Note: Dyslexic acronym is attributed to the owl in Winnie the Pooh who spelled his name WOL.

  

  

  

OWL/S

  

  

  

OWL-S Standard

  

  

  

Ontology for describing the capabilities of Web services.

  

  

  

P

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

parse

  

  

  

software

  

  

  

To separate an incoming stream of data into its constituent parts based on a grammer and various delimiters.

  

  

  

partial

  

  

  

OWL

  

  

  

A partial class is one that has necessary, but not necessary and sufficient restrictions. See complete.

  

  

  

partonomy

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

A mereological hierarchy, e.g., a bill of materials.

  

  

  

PCDATA

  

  

  

XML/HTML

  

  

  

“Parse-able” character data; refers to text that can be parsed. See CDATA.

  

  

  

perception

  

  

  

mind

  

  

  

Process whereby humans discern order in a complex world.

  

  

  

phenomenology

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Philosophy that reality consists of objects and events as perceived by human consciousness. Similar to the philosophy of the sophists.

  

  

  

polymorphism

  

  

  

object-oriented design

  

  

  

Literally "to take many forms." In object-oOriented design, subclasses of a class implement the public interface to the parent class in such a way that a message sent to a collection of parents and children would be responded to by each appropriately, without the caller knowing.

  

  

  

polysemous

  

  

  

linguistics

  

  

  

Describes a word with multiple related meanings (e.g., mouth,the anatomic opening, and mouth, the opening of a cave).

  

  

  

pragmatism

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Philosophy that holds that both the meaning and the truth of any idea is a function of its practical outcome.

  

  

  

precision, semantic

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

The degree of refinement or specificity applied to a particular semantic categorization. For example, car repair manual is a more semantically precise term than document, even though both may be equally accurate.

  

  

  

predicate

  

  

  

logic

  

  

  

A statement you can make about something that can be evaluated later as true or false.

  

  

  

prime

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Types which are atomic and have no supertypes. There is a belief that there are a few semantic primes from which all business related applications can be built.

  

  

  

property

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

An attribute (Datatype) or relationship (ObjectType) of an object/individual.

  

  

  

property

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

In object-oriented design, either an attribute or a relationship.

  

  

  

prototypes

  

  

  

linguistics

  

  

  

A way of defining categories around exemplar representatives, e.g., a robin may be a prototype for the category "bird."

  

  

  

Q

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

query

  

  

  

database (noun)

  

  

  

A declarative statement describing the dataset that a user or program wants to obtain from a database.

  

  

  

query

  

  

  

application (verb)

  

  

  

To request information from a data store.

  

R

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

range

  

  

  

relational

  

  

  

A restricted set of the domain of values to which an attribute can belong.

  

  

  

range

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Restriction class for a property. See slot and domain(ontology).

  

  

  

RDF

  

  

  

resource description framework

  

  

  

Basic model for expressing knowledge in the Semantic Web.

  

  

  

RDFS

  

  

  

RDF schema

  

  

  

Adds schema properties to RDF, such as "subclass" and "inverse."

  

  

  

RDF triple

  

  

  

RDF

  

  

  

A single combination of Subject/Predicate/Object.

  

  

  

reachable

  

  

  

network

  

  

  

The set of all nodes in a graph that can be arrived at by traversing arcs.

  

  

  

real time

  

  

  

systems

  

  

  

System design where events in the computer are taking place at nearly the same clock time as in the real world.

  

  

  

reasoner

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

A software program that can assign members to classes based on formal class definitions. Synonym of Inference Engine.

  

  

  

recursive

  

  

  

programming

  

  

  

Flow of control in which a module calls a new instance of itself an indefinite number of times. See recursive.

  

  

  

referent

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

The real world object which an individual represents in an ontology. “Horse” is a symbol, which stands for a concept. The referent is what kicks you.

  

  

  

referential integrity

  

  

  

database

  

  

  

Property of database management system that allows it to manage the relationship of instances in different tables such that a change or deletion in one table does not invalidate information in another. Referential integrity would prevent the deletion of a customer if there were still orders outstanding for that customer.

  

  

  

reification

  

  

  

RDF

  

  

  

Statements that refer to other RDF statements. For instance, to make a reference that another assertion is false or dubious is a reification.

  

  

  

reify

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

To treat an abstraction as if it were real. Marriage is the reification of a relationship, as are most entities in most databases.

  

  

  

repository

  

  

  

metadata

  

  

  

Place to persistently store metadata. A database for metadata.

  

  

  

resource

  

  

  

RDF

  

  

  

In RDF terms, a URI or a literal.

  

  

  

restriction

  

  

  

description logic/ OWL

  

  

  

A class definition where membership can be inferred based on precise definitions of membership qualification.

  

  

  

RSS

  

  

  

really simple syndication/rdf site summary/rich site summary

  

  

  

A family of standards for bloggers and content syndication.

  

  

  

run time

  

  

  

software

  

  

  

Refers to things which can change when the program is running as opposed to those things which must be changed when the program is being designed (or compiled). Shifting things (e.g., hardware, software, data) from design time to run time can make the system much more flexible.

S

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

SAWSDL

  

  

  

Semantic Annotations for Web Services Description Language

  

  

  

Standard for adding semantic description of Web service capability as annotation in the WSDL interface definition. (Previously, WSDL-S)

  

  

  

SBVR

  

  

  

Semantics in Business Vocabulary and [Business] Rules

  

  

  

A meta model and standard vocabulary for specifying business rules.

  

  

  

schema

  

  

  

XML

  

  

  

Allowable tags and their sequencing, usually expressed in DTD or XSD.

  

  

  

schema

  

  

  

database

  

  

  

Data definition for tables.

  

  

  

SDM

  

  

  

semantic data modeling

  

  

  

Conceptual database modeling based on semantics.

  

  

  

semantic

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Concerned with the study of meaning (often the meaning of words). In business systems we are concerned with making the meaning of data explicit (structuring unstructured data), as well as making it explicit enough that an agent could reason about it.

  

  

  

Semantic Web

  

  

  

network

  

  

  

Next generation Internet where all the content is tagged with semantic tags and committed to ontologies. An interlinking of ontologies will allow agents to reason about information only tangentially connected (and not previously connected by their creators).

  

  

  

semiotics

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Branch of linguistic study primarily concerned with human use of sign, symbol, syntax, and semantics.

  

  

  

sentient

  

  

  

mind

  

  

  

Capable of reasoning. Alternative definition includes being capable of feeling, but that has no applicability for business systems.

  

  

  

SGML

  

  

  

standard generalized markup language

  

  

  

Early tagged document markup language. Was popular for complex document creation, but complexity of language led to it being largely superceded by HTML and XML.

  

  

  

SHOE

  

  

  

simple HTML ontology extension

  

  

  

An early project to extend HTML with semantic tags.

  

  

  

shredding

  

  

  

XML

  

  

  

Parsing an XML document to is constituent parts to be stored atomically in a relational database.

  

  

  

similarity

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Lexical relations of words with related meaning. For example, "gluttonous" is similar to "greedy."

  

  

  

SKOS

  

  

  

Simple Knowledge Organization System

  

  

  

A standard for describing knowledge structures such as taxonomies and thesauri.

  

  

  

slot

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

A property in an ontology that can refer to other terms or frames.

  

  

  

SOA

  

  

  

service-oriented architecture

  

  

  

Application architecture organized around the use of services, including Web services.

  

  

  

SOAP

  

  

  

simple object access protocol

  

  

  

Wrapper for Web service requests that allows them to be invoked across the Internet, including through firewalls.

  

  

  

SOI

  

  

  

service-oriented integration

  

  

  

Performing EAI using service-based technologies.

  

  

  

sophists

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Group of philosophers who believed that the world existed only to the extent it was perceived. "Man is the measure of all things" was a saying of the sophists.

  

  

  

SPARQL

  

  

  

standard

  

  

  

Query language for RDF data.

  

  

  

specialization

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Increasing semantic precision by subtyping. Almost an exact antonym to generalization, but there are a few obscure conditions where generalization and specialization are not inverses.

  

  

  

splitters

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

People who are inclined to create new categories whenever new distinctions come up. See lumpers.

  

  

  

subsumption

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

To classify, include or incorporate in a more comprehensive category or under a general principle. The "isa" relationship.

  

  

  

subtype

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

A proper subtype "is" one of its parent types, more specifically a specialization of that type.

  

  

  

SUMO

  

  

  

suggested upper merged ontology

  

  

  

A broad ontology meant to promote wide ranging interoperability, supported by IEEE.

  

  

  

swoRDFish

  

  

  

metadata initiative

  

  

  

Ontology and framework for managing digital assets, from Sun Microsystems.

  

  

  

syllogism

  

  

  

philosophy

  

  

  

Style of inductive logic, that starts with a generalization (all men are mortal), includes a categorization (Socrates is a man) and concludes with a semantic entailment or the instance taking on an attribute of the category (Socrates is mortal).

  

  

  

symbolic

  

  

  

AI or formal semantics

  

  

  

Semantic reasoning with variables substituted for semantically known objects. Conclusions drawn at this level are universally true.

  

  

  

symmetric

  

  

  

DL

  

  

  

Characteristic of a property which has it hold “both ways.” “Sibling” is a symmetric property, but “sister” is not.

  

  

  

synchronous

  

  

  

messaging

  

  

  

Message transmission where sender blocks and waits for reply, which is expected in near real time.

  

  

  

synonymy

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Two terms that mean the same thing. As pointed out by John Saeed*, there are few true synonyms.

  

  

  

syntactic

  

  

  

semiotics

  

  

  

Concerning the grammar order or special characters in a document or message.

  

  

  



* John Saeed, Semantics. Oxford UK; Blackwell, 1997.

Symbols

 
Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

"

   

   

   

Universal

   

   

   

Used in Description Logics. Read as “for all …” An individual will qualify for membership in a class with a Universal restriction on a property if all the members of that property are from the specified class (or, non intuitively none. The main point is that there are not any instances not from the class). So, the definition of a “vegetarian meal” could be:
"foodsServed.nonMeat (All the foods are non meat items.)

   

   

   

$

   

   

   

Existential

   

   

   

Used in Desciription Logics. Read as “there is some …” meaning there must be at least one item of the type in the property set to qualify for membership. So the definition of meat pizza could be:
$hasTopping.meat (At least one topping is meat.)

   

   

   

T

   

   

   

Thing

   

   

   

In DL all items are sub types of “thing” the top level class.

   

   

   

^

   

   

   

No item, absurd or null, not thing

   

   

   

The inverse of thing (which is empty).

   

   

   

Í

   

   

   

Subsumption, implies

   

   

   

The expression to the left of the symbol implies, or entail,s the expression to the right. This also makes it a sub type (subsumption).

   

   

   

Ç, Ù, ·

   

   

   

Intersection, And, Conjunction

   

   

   

In DL or set theory, the intersection of two sets.

   

   

   

È, Ú

   

   

   

Unionspan Or, Disjunction

   

   

   

In DL or set theory, the union of two sets.

   

   

   

 ~  

   

Not

   

   

   

Complement of, or negation.

   

   

   

@

   

   

   

Equivalence

   

   

   

If and only if. The item described to the left of this symbol is not a subtype of the definition on the right, but is equivalent to.

 

T

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

tacit

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

That which has not been expressed in formal terms. Tacit knowledge may be knowledge we have without knowing that we have it.

  

  

  

tag

  

  

  

markup

  

  

  

Delimiters that also contain information. Most common type are matched tags such as <t>42</t>, which is the number 42 tagged by the tag "t."

  

  

  

taxonomy

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

A vocabulary ordered into a hierarchy, generally to find terms easily, and also to subtype the terms.

  

  

  

TBL

  

  

  

Tim Berners-Lee

  

  

  

WWW inventor; often goes by his initials.

  

  

  

TBox

  

  

  

Terminology Box (DL and OWL)

  

  

  

Inference that can be done with the Terminology (metadata) layer only.

  

  

  

temporal

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Dealing with time. Events and plans are temporal entities.

  

  

  

text

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

A portion of a document expressed in characters (as opposed to sound or graphics).

  

  

  

thing

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Very often the top of a generalization tree..

  

  

  

transactive

  

  

  

DL

  

  

  

Characteristic of a property which allows it to be recursive. “Ancestor” is a transitive property, but “parent” is not.

  

  

  

tree

  

  

  

model

  

  

  

A directed graph in which nodes are not referred to by more than one node (children do not have more than one parent).

  

  

  

triple

  

  

  

RDF

  

  

  

Knowledge expressed in a three-part grammar, which has been called "subject, predicate, object" as well as “resource, property, values."

  

  

  

triple store

  

  

  

RDF

  

  

  

A database that stores RDF in its native form.

  

  

  

truth conditions

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

The conditions under which a sentence or a proposition expressed by it is true; for example, the statement “I have red hair” is true under the condition that the speaker has, in fact, red hair. It is not true in the abstract, but only when grounded.

  

  

  

U

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

UDDI

  

  

  

universal description, discovery, and integration

  

  

  

Standard for a registry or yellow pages for finding services.

  

  

  

UML

  

  

  

unified modeling language

  

  

  

Modeling language for object-oriented development popularized by Rational Corporation.

  

  

  

UMLS

  

  

  

unified medical language system

  

  

  

Ontology of medical terms used for searching medical literature.

  

  

  

unambiguous

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Refers to specific item or category in requisite level of semantic precision.

  

  

  

unary

  

  

  

relation

  

  

  

One-way relation; pointer.Most relations are binary, which means they are automatically maintained both ways and can be traversed both ways.

  

  

  

unicode

  

  

  

character set

  

  

  

Character set rich enough to represent non-Latin-based languages, such as Chinese and Burmese.

  

  

  

unique

  

  

  

constraint

  

  

  

There can not be more than one equivalent item of this type within the scope indicated. We may say that customer numbers must be unique (within our organization or database) or we may say that there can only be one successor on a relationship, meaning there can't be more than one of that type in that set.

  

  

  

unstructured data

  

  

  

documents

  

  

  

Data (textual, video, sound, graphics) that has not been interpreted, tagged, or structured.

  

  

  

URI

  

  

  

uniform resource identifier

  

  

  

Unambiguous location of a resource in RDF.

  

  

  

URL

  

  

  

uniform resource location

  

  

  

A resolvable location on the reachable Internet.

  

V

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

valence

  

  

  

relation

  

  

  

Number of type of successors to a relationship. Also called the "n-arity." Most relationships have a valence of 2 (binary relationships), but relationships with a valence of 3 or 4 are not uncommon.

  

  

  

validation

  

  

  

XML/HTML

  

  

  

Determination that a document obeys all the rules set out in its schema.

  

  

  

veracity

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

Degree to which we believe something to be true. High veracity = high degree in belief in the truth of the assertion.

  

  

  

vocabulary

  

  

  

semantics

  

  

  

List of terms in a particular dialect, often with definitions.

  

  

  

W

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

W3C

  

  

  

World Wide Web Consortium

  

  

  

Non profit organization responsible for maintaining the standards upon which the World Wide Web is based.

  

  

  

warehouses

  

  

  

database

  

  

  

A copy of the operational data of a firm, stored to optimize analytic retrieval instead of updates. Also organized to be robust in regard to changes in the structure of the operational databases or the hierarchical rollups of the dimensions.

  

  

  

Web services

  

  

  

architecture

  

  

  

RPC in which the request is in XML. Allows caller and receiver to be in different technologies as long as each can queue the message and process the XML request or response.

  

  

  

Web 2.0

  

  

  

style

  

  

  

Web based capability characterized by collaboration and user-created content, including blogs and wikis.

  

  

  

Web 3.0

  

  

  

style

  

  

  

How some are referring to the Semantic Web.

  

  

  

Web 4.0

  

  

  

hype

  

  

  

Something beyond 3.0.

  

  

  

well formedness

  

  

  

XML/HTML

  

  

  

Property that a given tagged document adheres to the rules of documents of that type (e.g., all the tags match). Does not require a schema. See validation. Note that most HTML tools and browsers have become slack on well formedness, to the point where one cannot rely on HTML tags matching.

  

  

  

WordNet

  

  

  

ontology

  

  

  

Open source dictionary of the English language. Built as a searchable graph with disambiguation of word senses and thesaurus-style linking of similar word senses. Many of the concepts have hypernymy, polysymy, and mereologic links

  

  

  

WSDL

  

  

  

Web service description language

  

  

  

Standard for defining the interface to a Web service, expressed as an XSD dialect. Pronounced "whizdull."

  

  

  

WSDL/S

  

  

  

SOA

  

  

  

See SAWSDL.

  

  

  

WWW

  

  

  

World Wide Web

  

  

  

The layer on top of the Internet that most people now think of as the Internet. Includes Web servers that are reachable by URLs and DNS, that accept HTTP reuqests on port 80 and that serve up user Interfaces in HTML.

X

Term Context or Acronym Expansion Definition

XMI

  

  

  

XML metadata interchange

  

  

  

Standard for interchanging metadata.

  

  

  

XP

  

  

  

extreme programming

  

  

  

First of the agile methods, focused on pair programming, test as you go, and refactoring.

  

  

  

XP

  

  

  

operating system

  

  

  

Recent version of Microsoft Windows.

  

  

  

XPath

  

  

  

XML

  

  

  

Declarative way to define a subset of an XML document that you are interested in. Robust in regard to many structural changes to the document.

  

  

  

XQuery

  

  

  

XML

  

  

  

Query language for retrieving data from an XML document or XML database.

  

  

  

XSD

  

  

  

XML schema

  

  

  

Schema language for XML, expressed in XML (as opposed to DTD, which was not in XML).

  

  

  

XSL

  

  

  

XML style sheet language

  

  

  

Declarative language creating a style sheet for XML documents.

  

  

  

XSLT

  

  

  

extensible style sheet language transformation

  

  

  

Extension to XSL that includes more structural changes to an XML document.

Y

 

Z

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