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"metadata" as "data about data"

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@google.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 2015 14:38:45 +0000
Message-ID: <CAK-qy=7XatrvL_QSahN5rj+NDRSQsV_CwVWVKmHT=T+55EWGsA@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-dwbp-comments@w3.org
Cc: Ralph Swick <swick@w3.org>
re http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-dwbp-20150224/#metadata

Congratulations on your new Working Draft. Just a brief point as I
begin to work through the doc... I'd like to suggest that you consider
 recycling an old sentence from the early RDF '97-9 work, which
addresses up front the awkwardness inherent in defining "metadata" as
"data about data":

"""The distinction between "data" and "metadata" is not an absolute
one; it is a distinction created primarily by a particular
application, and many times the same resource will be interpreted in
both ways simultaneously."""

One of RDF's strengths is that it works at both these levels. While
the dwbp doc's scope goes beyond RDF, I think the insight in that old
paragraph from the first RDF Recommendation remains relevant.
Currently you write "Metadata is data about data." as well as "A
metadata document must be published together with the data"; taken
together this makes the distinction seem more clear-cut than it often
seems in practice.

cheers,

Dan






(*) context: http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-rdf-syntax-19990222/
"The World Wide Web was originally built for human consumption, and
although everything on it is machine-readable, this data is not
machine-understandable. It is very hard to automate anything on the
Web, and because of the volume of information the Web contains, it is
not possible to manage it manually. The solution proposed here is to
use metadata to describe the data contained on the Web. Metadata is
"data about data" (for example, a library catalog is metadata, since
it describes publications) or specifically in the context of this
specification "data describing Web resources". The distinction between
"data" and "metadata" is not an absolute one; it is a distinction
created primarily by a particular application, and many times the same
resource will be interpreted in both ways simultaneously."
Received on Thursday, 5 March 2015 14:39:18 UTC

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