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   RE: [xml-dev] Meta-somethingorother (was the semantic webmega-permathrea

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Hi Bill,

> By the way, I don't use  RDF/OWL for doing like ontology work or
> defining document formats.

Me too and this is why I like prototype/instance based languages like for
instance self or ECMAScript. When a platonic approach is taken everything is
constrained by a strict schema and this obviously restricts the combinations
you can do when dealing with a plethora of sources. In contrast to this
approach I consider a bundled set of RDF statements (i.e. an rdf
description) like a prototype, a subjective view on a resource. From there,
I can either manually or automatically merge the different point of views
about a resource. In other words the schema emerges from the prototypes
instead of from an instantiation of occurrences originated from a deistic

For my own work and since ProjectX (the ancestor of the semantic web) I tend
to consider rdf descriptions as a set of properties as we did in MCL. This
frame of mind is a lot easier to deal with than graphs (obviously a view on
an abstract concept of property ownership) or triples. I simply see the rdf
descriptions as a set of properties. The more I have properties about a
resource the more I complete my knowledge about this resource. Merging
property sets is a knowledge acquisition process. I have to think about the
resource, analyze or set rules to decide what is the best point of view
(statement about a resource). 

Like in MCL, having property sets organized as arrays (only one level under
an element) is useful and arrays are easier to merge or merging rules are
easier to define since they more easily conform to set theory operators (as
previously demonstrated by Cod). To create hierarchies we simply need a
property to act as a link to other property sets. As we all know it's quite
easy to create hierarchies from arrays. Having arrays in separate chunks,
helps a lot to recombine them. In hierarchies we often have to cut, extract
subset to recombine them. This is what languages like DSSSL or XSLT do. In
the case of DSSSL the whole hierarchy is perceived a list of list or dynamic
arrays; reducing the levels as dynamic arrays allows performing the
combinations. In other words, there is a lot of advantages form the
operational point of view when data are organized as arrays (i.e. property
sets). Matter of choice...

Didier PH Martin


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