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Re: [xml-dev] What is Data?

Sorry for top-post.  I've written a huge deal on on all these topics for over 10 years, and I'm sorry that at present I'm not very disposed to spend a lot of time in close discussion.  If I'm able to grab a few cycles this week, I can provide no end of pointers to my articles expanding on the bits you picked out.


On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 9:47 AM, Frank Manola <fmanola@acm.org> wrote:

On Sep 2, 2009, at 11:03 AM, Peter Hunsberger wrote:

Went off list, by mistake.  Uche comments on RDF  got me to ask what
he meant and it seems relevant to the general question....

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Peter Hunsberger <peter.hunsberger@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 8:45 PM
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] What is Data?
To: Uche Ogbuji <uche@ogbuji.net>

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 6:37 PM, Uche Ogbuji<uche@ogbuji.net> wrote:

In my opinion RDF should have been about expressing context across the
narrative aspects of content, including XML documents (or at least XML
without the mess that is  PSVI and all that).  Instead RDF makes mixed
content and such a pain, and focuses too much on granular data typing, and
relies on a basic statement model (triples) far too limited to express
useful nuance.

I'm still not sure what some of this means.  I could read my own interpretation into these things, but specifically, could we have some examples of what is meant by:

"expressing context across the narrative aspects of content"

"mixed content"

"granular data typing"

"useful nuance"

The last part (triples) was my first frustration and I've definitely
run into the pain of fitting mixed content into it.  Hadn't thought
about the granular types that much, but you're right on that one too.
 Shame, really.  Wouldn't it be nice to be able to answer Rogers
original question by simply pointing at RDF and saying "anything that
fits in there" with the fit, for well, everything, being obvious....

A variant on this might be a good way to tease out some of the issues people have with RDF (or with definitions of data in general).  Suppose we answered Roger's original question by saying that data is anything that can fit into a relational DBMS.  The fit isn't always obvious (hence issues of database design), but take that as a starting point.  Now lets discuss the problems folks have with that definition.  Since anything you can fit into a relational DBMS you can fit into RDF (with its own issues of "database design"), presumably many of the problems will be the same.


Peter Hunsberger


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