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   RE: A certain difficulty

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  • From: Mark Birbeck <Mark.Birbeck@iedigital.net>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 22:24:33 -0000

Eve L. Maler wrote:
> At 02:27 PM 2/24/00 +0000, Miles Sabin wrote [in response to Mark
> >If all you're interested in is representing a formal graph
> >structure, then fine. But surely to be interesting we have to
> >be able to _interpret_ this stuff (I'm intending the contrast
> >between 'formal' and 'interpreted' here in the same sense it's
> >used in semantic theories).
> Yep.  There's a reason that there were Dublin Core folks intimately 
> involved with RDF's development...

I'd forgotten about that aspect of RDF. You've reminded me that everyone
I've ever met who says they're using RDF is usually just using a few DC
meta tags in their HTML files. IMVVHO the DC work (or at least the
standardisation of tags) is the least interesting part of RDF, as I'll
try to explain.

> Until we can make 
> statements that share 
> semantics with other people's statements, I would think RDF 
> is of limited 
> utility for creating the "semantic web."

The key to this is not to somehow standardise on "author", "composer",
"poet" and "painter" which is the usual discussion this stuff ends up
disappearing into. IT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! If you're waiting for the
anarchy of the web to be tidied into squeaky clean schemas, you'll be
twiddling your thumbs for a long time. The web will become powerful when
I can see your information *from my point of view* and you can see my
information *from your point of view*. And someone else can see both of
our sets of information from their point of view.

So, to illustrate, if today I want to see all documents where "creator"
is David Bowie, then today I set "composer" and "author" and "painter"
to be equivalent. But if tomorrow I want to define "creator" as only
"sculpture" and "painter", and then use "writer" for "poet" and
"author", why shouldn't I? And that says nothing about foreign

As I have said before on this list - the key is in the meta-meta tools.
And that's what RDF excels at.


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