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Re: Semantics of rdfs:seeAlso (Was: Is it best practices to use a rdfs:seeAlso link to a potentially multimegabyte PDF?)

From: Dave Reynolds <dave.e.reynolds@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2011 12:09:48 +0000
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Cc: Linked Open Data <public-lod@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1294920588.2597.191.camel@dave-desktop>
On Thu, 2011-01-13 at 06:29 -0500, Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

> This is the Linked Open Data list.
> The Linked Data world is a well-defined bit of engineering.
> It has co-opted the rdf:seeAlso semantics of "if you are looking up x load y" from the much 
> earlier FOAF work.  

Where is this "well-defined bit of engineering" defined in such a way
that makes that "co-option" clear? [*]

Assuming a particular use of rdfs:seeAlso as a convention for some
community (e.g. FOAF) that wants to adapt that particular pattern is
just fine.

Updating specs in the future to narrow the interpretation to support
this assumption usage might be OK, so long as due process is followed,
but that hasn't happened yet.

Complaining when others go by the existing spec does not seem
reasonable.

> The URI space is full of empty space waiting for you to define terms
> with whatever semantics you like for your own use.
> But one cant argue philosophically that for some reason 
> the URI rdfs:seeAlso should have some other meaning when people are using it and 
> there have been specs.

Those specs support Martin's usage, as his quotes from them clearly
demonstrated.

> One *can* argue that the RDFS spec is definitive, and it is very loose in its definition.

Loose in the sense of allowing a range of values but as a specification
it is unambiguous in this case, as Martin has already pointed out:

"When such representations may be retrieved, no constraints are placed
on the format of those representations."

> We could look at maybe asking for an erratum to the spec
> to make it clear and introduce the other term int the same spec.

Or mint a sub-property of rdfs:seeAlso which provides the additional
constraints.

Dave

[*] And yes, I'm well aware of [1] which does mention the foaf
convention but it does so just as one convention in passing, there's no
clear suggestion in there that tools should rely on that convention for
arbitrary linked data.

[1] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkedData.html 
Received on Thursday, 13 January 2011 12:10:23 UTC

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