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Okay, I have been learning SPARQL to query dbpedia and I can't seem to find clear and practical tutorials related to SPARQL and the Semantic Web. If I say that an ontology is analogous to an SQL table definition or maybe a specification of an object's members should I be slapped?

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@Yannis Rizos, Thanks, but what I'm looking for is an extremely basic definition of what an ontology is regarding the Semantic Web. A definition or analogy that would make an elitist computer scientist's stomach turn. I'm not calling all computer scientists elitists btw. –  Jason Holland Jun 12 '12 at 16:58
I'm curious why this got down voted when questions like the following are up-voted: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/25052/… –  Jason Holland Jun 13 '12 at 13:38
Never a good idea to worry about a single vote, up or down. For all you know it could be someone on a run for one of the voting badges, that didn't even read the question. –  Yannis Jun 13 '12 at 13:43

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Most basically, the term "ontology" is roughly equivalent to the "domain model". It is the set of all objects that represent real world objects or concepts, including all defined relationships, rules, attributes and other metadata that is known or must be assumed as true about these objects within the bounds of this domain.

In the Semantic Web, the "ontology" being discussed is the definition of the information available from a Semantic Web data store. It's contained in documents that conform to a standard called RDF (Resource Description Framework), which can be implemented or serialized as an XML document. Think of these definitions as having a similar purpose for Web 3.0 as WSDL or JSDL documents have for web services; they contain the metadata needed for a computer to generate the DTOs and make the calls to obtain the data.

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