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Re: Comments on Data 3.0 manifesto

From: Leigh Dodds <leigh.dodds@talis.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 08:59:09 +0100
Message-ID: <l2pf323a4471004190059n16f68d9bj625c6e6bcb9fb87@mail.gmail.com>
To: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Cc: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>, public-lod <public-lod@w3.org>

On 17 April 2010 17:37, Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com> wrote:
> ...
> RDF has inadvertently caused mass distraction away from the fact that a
> common Data Model is the key to meshing heterogeneous data sources.
> People just don't "buy" or "grok" the data model aspect of RDF, so why
> continue fighting this battle, when all we want is mass comprehension,
> however we get there.

As you've noted elsewhere, its the natural fixation of people on some
elements of semantic web technology, like RDF/XML, that have been
distracting people from the core message. Although personally I think
that's changing, and focusing on Linked Data has helped.

I've personally found that initially concentrating on the underlying
model does help people begin to appreciate the benefits. But whether
you begin from RDF, or generalise further and describe EAV largely
depends on your audience and intent. If you're aiming to illustrate
how RDF is aligned with other data models then I can see how
positioning it with respect to EAV will help.

But not with all audiences.

For some audiences we need to emphasise different aspects of the
technology. There isn't a single pitch that captures the value because
different audiences and communities have different focus and different
problems to solve. Starting from the data model is a useful common
denominator approach but ultimately value descriptions will be more

Even for technical audiences, beginning from EAV or RDF model doesn't
always help. There's a whole community of developers out there who
don't begin by framing things in terms of abstract models, in fact
they may not even be familiar with the abstract models behind the
tools they're using; they're just interested in how to get things
done: clear practitioner advice and simple illustrations of the power
of the technology. Adding another level of generalisation to the
description isn't going to win them over.

Personally I think we ought to be collectively spending less time on
worrying about how to pitch the technology and more effort on helping
practitioners get things done by giving them the tools, guidance and
support they need.



Leigh Dodds
Programme Manager, Talis Platform
Received on Monday, 19 April 2010 07:59:43 UTC

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