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The World Wide Web Consortium has announced the approval of two Semantic Web technologies as standards.

Janet Daly, a spokeswoman for the W3C, of Cambridge, Mass., said the approval of the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) as W3C recommendations is likely to be one of the W3C’s most important announcements this year. RDF and OWL set a framework for sharing and reuse of data on the Web, as well as for asset management and enterprise integration.

Tim Berners-Lee, director of the W3C and inventor of the Web, said in a statement: “It’s not unlike the early days of the Web, when once people saw how it worked, they understood its power. We’re entering that phase now, where people can see the beginnings of the Semantic Web at work.”

The Semantic Web is an extension of the Web where information is assigned greater meaning and data can be used for automation, integration and reuse, W3C officials said Tuesday in announcing the approval of the specifications.

Using RDF and OWL content developers can connect metadata with documents to enable better search capabilities. Other enhanced capabilities include the ability to integrate enterprise applications and better manage Web sites.

W3C officials said XML, RDF and OWL set the foundation for the Semantic Web. XML sets rules for syntax for structured documents, RDF adds a way to provide descriptive information, and OWL represents a language for creating domain-specific vocabularies for various subjects.

Although the news of the W3C approval of RDF and OWL is important, the bigger issue is the flurry of industry support around the specifications, according to Daly.

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