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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: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2011 13:18:21 -0500
Message-ID: <4D2F41ED.9050002@openlinksw.com>
To: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
CC: Martin Hepp <martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org>, Linked Open Data <public-lod@w3.org>
On 1/13/11 12:17 PM, David Booth wrote:
> FWIW, I also agree with Martin's comments.  It is the client's
> responsibility to decide what to retrieve and accept:
> 1. The definition of rdfs:seeAlso very clearly states that "When such
> representations may be retrieved, no constraints are placed on the
> format of those representations."
> http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-schema/#ch_seealso
> 2. Only the client can know what formats and how much data it wants.
> 3. The HTTP protocol already provides content negotiation and HEAD
> features to allow a client to find out what formats and data quantity
> are available before retrieving the data.
> 4. There is no hard and fast distinction between RDF data and non-RDF
> data.  With the right de-serialization, *any* machine readable data can
> be viewed as RDF.  This is not only what GRDDL does with plain XML, but
> it is inherent to RDF itself, because RDF is a data model -- not a
> syntax.  If the client can de-serialized from a particular format to
> RDF, then the document can be viewed as RDF, regardless of whether it
> can *also* be viewed as something else.  (After all, n3 can *also* be
> viewed as plain text.)
> IMO, if there are clients that ignore available HTTP features and
> blindly retrieve large quantities of data that they cannot consume, then
> those clients should be improved.

Nice summary. I agree with most of what you say bar this statement: RDF 
is a Data Model.

Okay, when speaking here, or in broader Semantic Web circles, the Model 
aspect in fine. But in reality, and when broadening the Linked Data tent 
is the fundamental goal, the "Model" aspect of RDF doesn't work i.e., 
people don't process it at all. This is the fundamental reason why I've 
stopped talking about RDF as a Model. It's why I say: 
Entity-Attribute-Value (plus Classes and Relationships, to be precise). 
Sadly, the gut reaction to this position has been for many to completely 
miss the point. I like many others -- seeking inclusion -- are tired of 
beating a dead horse.

The world perceives RDF differently (rightly or wrongly so). It sees a 
Markup Language. As you know, there is no such thing as a Language 
devoid of Schema. Trouble is that the communities of immediate interest 
(i.e. those outside LOD and broader Semantic Web tents) just don't care, 
so why burn time we don't have getting religious about "RDF" ?

I strongly believe that RDF preoccupation impedes Linked Data 
comprehension, adoption, and mass exploitation.

So to repeat, I absolutely agree with the essence of your comments. I 
just don't bother pushing the RDF Model angle anymore.



Kingsley Idehen	
President&  CEO
OpenLink Software
Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
Twitter/Identi.ca: kidehen
Received on Thursday, 13 January 2011 18:18:50 UTC

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