Document Type


Publication Date



The current WSDL standard operates at the syntactic level and lacks the semantic expressivity needed to represent the requirements and capabilities of Web Services. Semantics can improve software reuse and discovery, significantly facilitate composition of Web services and enable integrating legacy applications as part of business process integration. The Web Service Semantic s technical note defines a mechanism to associate semantic annotations with Web services that are described using Web Service Description Language (WSDL). It is conceptually based on, but a significant refinement in details of, the original WSDL-S proposal [WSDL-S] from the LSDIS laboratory at the University of Georgia. In this proposal, we assume that formal semantic models relevant to the services already exist. In our approach, these models are maintained outside of WSDL documents and are referenced from the WSDL document via WSDL extensibility elements. The type of semantic information that would be useful in describing a Web Service encompass the concepts defined by the semantic Web community in OWL-S [OWL-S] and other efforts [METEOR-S, WSMO]. The semantic information specified in this document includes definitions of the precondition, input, output and effects of Web service operations. This approach offers multiple advantages over OWL-S. First, users can describe, in an upwardly compatible way, both the semantics and operation level details in WSDL- a language that the developer community is familiar with. Secondly, by externalizing the semantic domain models, we take an agnostic approach to ontology representation languages. This allows Web service developers to annotate their Web services with their choice of ontology language (such as UML or OWL) unlike in OWL-S. This is significant because the ability to reuse existing domain models expressed in modeling languages like UML can greatly alleviate the need to separately model semantics. Finally, it is relatively easy to update the existing tooling around WSDL specification to accommodate our incremental approach.


Copyright© 2005 International Business Machines Corporation and University of Georgia. All rights reserved.

The published version of this report is available at