Semantic web: the story so far
The goal of Semantic Web research is to transform the Web from a linked document repository into a distributed knowledge base and application platform, thus allowing the vast range of available information and services to be more effectively exploited. As a first step in this transformation, languages such as OWL have been developed; these languages are designed to capture the knowledge that will enable applications to better understand Web accessible resources, and to use them more intelligently. Although fully realising the Semantic Web still seems some way off, OWL has already been very successful, and has rapidly become a de facto standard for ontology development in fields as diverse as geography, geology, astronomy, agriculture, defence and the life sciences. An important factor in this success has been the availability of sophisticated tools with built in reasoning support. The use of OWL in large scale applications has brought with it new challenges, both with respect to expressive power and scalability, but recent research has also shown how the OWL language and OWL tools can be extended and adapted to meet these challenges.