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12. Ontologies: RDF Business Models > 12.1. Why Ontology?

Why Ontology?

Since we spent two chapters discussing how to create RDF vocabularies using a combination of RDF and RDFS elements (Chapter 5 and Chapter 6), you may be wondering why we would need an ontology on top of this. What can ontology provide that the RDF Schema doesn’t?

RDFS imposes fairly loose constraints on vocabularies. For instance, there’s nothing in the schema that restricts the cardinality of a specific property or that provides information that two properties are disjoint (i.e., can’t use one when using the other). An ontology language such as OWL adds additional constraints that increase the accuracy of implementations of a given vocabulary. More than that, though, they allow additional information to be inferred about the data, though it may not be specifically recorded.


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