RuleML FOAF: A Web Rule Language for Social Networking
NRC-IIT creates and commercializes software and systems technology to help Canada prosper in the knowledge economy. The institute in Fredericton has been working with rule systems, semantic web standards and social networking since its inception. Web-based Social Networking is emerging as a major application area for semantic web metadata. Most social networking sites are based on a centralized architecture: all user descriptions are stored in one database. There is, however, growing user and business interest in portability between such sites, and for ‘single sign-on’ mechanisms that reduce the need for data re-entry, while allowing users to publish different aspects of themselves in different contexts. The Friend-Of-A-Friend (FOAF) vocabulary allows such sites to address the user demand for control of ‘their’ data. A Web Rule Language is now seen as the next research target for the semantic web. While metadata were traditionally handcrafted and stored statically, rules can be employed for dynamically deriving required metadata on demand. The Rule Markup Language (RuleML) enables the XML-based elicitation, interchange and execution of rules. The FOAF vocabulary does not currently capture rule knowledge, and the RuleML specification has not before been applied to social networking. The RuleML FOAF research combines both strands by studying the mathematical properties and use of RuleML rules for FOAF homepages.