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   Re: [xml-dev] XML/RDF

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Mike Champion wrote:
> 11/8/2002 1:17:31 PM, Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net> wrote:
>>What do you think the Semantic Web is?
> Just to grab the first bit of hyperbole that I came across:

First, I didn't ask you what the owner of the domain thought the 
Semantic Web is. I asked you what _you_ thought the Semantic Web is.

Second, I didn't ask you whether the Semantic Web was overhyped, but 
rather how you defined it. If we choose not to use technologies that are 
overhyped then we do had better shut this mailing list down.

Do you have any reason to dispute (or fear) the definition here:

  * http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/


Definition: The Semantic Web is the abstract representation of data on 
the World Wide Web, based on the RDF standards and other standards to be 
defined. It is being developed by the W3C, in collaboration with a large 
number of researchers and industrial partners.

"The Semantic Web is an extension of the current web in which 
information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and 
people to work in cooperation." -- Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, Ora 
Lassila, The Semantic Web, Scientific American, May 2001


 > ...
>>To me, it is just the union of 
>>the localized domains with links between them where possible. If there 
>>is value in the localized domains, why would the integration of them 
>>into a Web of links be problematic?
> Nothing that I know of offhand.  Can it cope with inconsistencY
> of assertions? 

What is "it"? Particular software applications will have to cope with 
inconsistency of assertions. In many cases it would seem sufficient to 
raise an exception.

I could just as easily ask, can XML handle invalid documents? Well, yes. 
And no. It depends on the software you are using, not on XML itself.

> ... Can it actually work without an
> "ontology authority" to maintain trust and consistency across domains?

Why wouldn't it? Why should RDF and related technologies require this to 
any greater degree than XML?

> Will the spammers, pornographers, and assorted slimeballs co-opt it
> for their purposes? 

Of course. As they have email, VHS and the standard Web. Does that mean 
they can _ruin_ it? I don't see any evidence to that effect. I'll ask 
again why the SemWeb technologies would be more susceptible to this than 
XML (or HTML, or email) technologies.

> ... Can it work well enough to evolve if only partially
> implemented (like the Web) or does its value only kick in only when
> everyone implements it (see http://www.shirky.com/writings/evolve.html)?

The people who use it today claim that they are already getting benefit 
from it and you aren't using it and neither am I. So pretty clearly it 
IS only partially implemented and unless these people are mistaken or 
lying, it does work "well enough" for them.

  Paul Prescod


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