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   Re: The Mire 'twixt Documents And Data

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  • From: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com>
  • To: "Thomas B. Passin" <tpassin@home.com>, xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Sat, 02 Dec 2000 18:28:04 +0000

> With xlink, topic maps, and RDF, we have plenty of possiblities for
> annotating documents, even third-party documents.  Provided, that
> is, they are marked up in some useful way.  xhtml isn't usually
> enough for that.

Yes, that's exactly my point. We need some kind of system (that isn't too
comlicated) that allows us to anotate data, and have it either processed or
displayed. I'm sure if people just added some proprietary extensions to
XHTML, took away some of the junk, and mixed in a few other languages (XLink
and RDF) then you would have the basis for an architecturally sound, well
processable "language".

> What we need are usable tools, preferably gui editor-like tools, to let us
> these things.  We've got the standards infrastructure, I think.  I want to
> able to take a document, highlight parts and add notes, comments [...]
> and links to other documents, [...]

This is the next major step towards a brighter Web (dare I say the Semantic
Web). Someone needs to create a "Mosaic for the SW", and they have to do it
fairly soon. We need something like the very original NEXT browser that
TimBL created: somthing that allows you to read and write to the Web in a
WYSIWYG environment without needing to see the source code or URIs. Also,
that "browser/editor" is going to settle on some type of output, and I think
it will be something similar to the annotated data in XHTML thing I am
talking about. Amaya already is 1% of the way there, but people need to move
it on the next 99%...
It would also be compatable with the Web of trust, and of only partly
recognizable languages, becuas it should be able to work out most
statements, but for the main part you would have the basic structural
framework (using some XHTML tags) and then have the data annotated with
XLink, RDF and so on. Bringing all of these things together is one of the
hardest things, but like I say, Amaya is getting there. Also IE5 can display
plain XML with CSS, so if some group of people developed some of these
principles and brought them al in line, there is no stopping them creating
the "Mosaic of the SW".

Of course, people must first settle onto the act that docuents and data are
inseperable, and that was the original purpose of the first message, and
this one moves me onto the next level (and hence this question): is anyone
developing an WYSIWYG annotation GUI?

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
http://www.w3.org/WAI/ [ERT/GL/PF]
"Perhaps, but let's not get bogged down in semantics."
   - Homer J. Simpson, BABF07.

> Sean B. Palmer wrote about mixing xhtml with annotation markup -
> ...
> > I believe that one of the best ways to transition into RDF, if not a
> > long-term deployment strategy for RDF, is to manage the information in
> > human-consumable form (XHTML) annotated with just enough info to extract
> > RDF statements that the human info is intended to convey. [...] We all
> > that we have to produce a human-readable version of the thing... why not
> > that as the primary source?
> > ]]] - [2]
> > Or in other words, using XHTML [3] as a repository for data, but one
> > can still be marked up with annotations, explanations, and
> > The key concepts we have here is the following: Data can be stored
> > in XHTML, and annotated with two different types of further data -
> > annotation intended to facilitate the machine transformation and
> > of that data into machine (RDF?) form, and annotation to assist humans
> > the interpretation of that data [4].
> ...
> > If we added those simple tags etc. to a kind of XHTML slurry, then we
> > have a lot more power to walk through the mire 'twixt documents and
> > But this is all an abstract conversation isn't it? Not really. Browsers
> > worldwide grok XHTML, and a few can use CSS to style other forms of XML.
> > the moment, to cleanly extract data from XHTML, we have to pepper it
> > annotate it) with hundreds of "classes" - class attributes [5] to imply
> > meaning, for example as discussed in the semantic design principles [6],
> > so instead we could just add a few custom based annotation and logic
> > tags (like the ones above) to (e.g.) m12n, and create a transformable
> > of XHTML, to bridge the gap.


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