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Tim Berners-Lee Announces W3C RIF Working Group for XML and Other Data

Drive Toward Semantic Web Continues

W3C has announced the formation of a new Rule Interchange Format (RIF) Working Group tasked with the challenge of producing a "standard means for exchanging rules on the Web. Rules constitute a key element of the Semantic Web vision, allowing integration, derivation, and transformation of data from multiple sources in a distributed, transparent and scalable manner."

The Rule Interchange Format WG has been chartered at least through November 2007 to "produce a core rule language plus extensions which together allow rules to be translated between rule languages and thus transferred between rule systems.

The Working Group will have to balance the needs of a diverse community — including Business Rules and Semantic Web users — specifying extensions for which it can articulate a consensus design and which are sufficiently motivated by use cases."

According to Tim Berners-Lee (pictured), announcing the new activity at the Information Juggernaut event in Galway, Ireland, the chartered work builds upon the foundation of years of industry and research work in rules languages. "Bringing together business rules vendors, user companies, rule language designers, and Semantic Web developers to create a rules standard as an important step in achieving the full power of the Semantic Web," he said.

Creating a common Rule Interchange Format for the Web is expected to "provide a way to represent established and new rule languages, allowing rules written for one application to be published, shared, merged and re-used in other applications and by other rule engines," according to Berners-Lee.

"This in turn facilitates the integration of individual, departmental, corporate, and public data sources and the ability to draw new conclusions," he continued. "A Rule Interchange Format will, for example, help businesses find new customers, doctors validate prescriptions, and banks process loan applications. With a Rule Interchange Format for the Web, conventional rules technology will be enhanced not only by the usual economies of standardization, but specifically by what the Semantic Web infrastructure provides: the ability to exchange and merge rules from different sources."

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Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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