The World Wide Web (WWW) has changed the way people communicate with each other, how information is disseminated and retrieved, and how business is conducted. The term Semantic Web comprises techniques that promise to dramatically improve the currentWWWand its use. This book is about this emerging technology.
The success of each book should be judged against the authors’ aims. This is an introductory textbook about the Semantic Web. Its main use will be to serve as the basis for university courses about the Semantic Web. It can also be used for self-study by anyone who wishes to learn about Semantic Web technologies.
The question arises whether there is a need for a textbook, given that all information is available online. We think there is a need because on the Web there are too many sources of varying quality and too much information.
Some information is valid, some outdated, some wrong, and most sources talk about obscure details. Anyone who is a newcomer and wishes to learn something about the Semantic Web, or who wishes to set up a course on the Semantic Web, is faced with these problems. This book is meant to help out. A textbook must be selective in the topics it covers. Particularly in a field as fast developing as this, a textbook should concentrate on fundamental aspects that can reasonably be expected to remain relevant some time into the future. But, of course, authors always have their personal bias.
Even for the topics covered, this book is not meant to be a reference work that describes every small detail. Long books have already been written on certain topics, such as XML. And there is no need for a reference work in the Semantic Web area because all definitions and manuals are available online. Instead, we concentrate on the main ideas and techniques and provide enough detail to enable readers to engage with the material constructively and to build applications of their own.