Sunday, March 9, 2008

What is Semantics?

So, what is Semantics? It is an often misunderstood term; even moreso in regards to its technical applications. In philosophy, Semantics refers to the study of meaning. The representation and dissemination of meaning though is what IT is all about. Every data element, every character in a string, every variable in an equation; they all express meaning in one form or another.

Furthermore that meaning is enhanced through frameworks of syntax and grammar as well as through countless explicit and implicit relationships. All system design is predicated upon a contract of shared understanding between stakeholders, developers and service providers; when something goes wrong this is often the first place to look.

There are a number of specific standards and tools that have emerged over the past few years to support Semantic Integration; however first we need to examine the problem space from a philosophical and business level. To understand how Semantics can be used to facilitate enterprise integration, we must first understand how Semantics relates to the practice of IT. Semantics is heavily focused upon hierarchies of meaning and relationships and as one might expect Semantics has its own hierarchy.

Copyright 2008, Semantech Inc.

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