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Re: A comment on the Primer draft, part 1 Introduction

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.rpi.edu>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 21:46:13 -0500
Message-Id: <275EDB16-D366-48EC-9936-850B39661F37@cs.rpi.edu>
Cc: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>, "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>, OWL Working Group WG <public-owl-wg@w3.org>, w3t-archive@w3.org
To: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
I am unsure of the status of this document - my previous  
understanding was that it was being shown as an example of what the  
technology would allow (i.e. diferent syntax options) now it seems to  
be being reviewed as a WG document.  I have many issues with it, Ivan  
notes a couple below, and I have others -- but the key thing is I  
have not seen a WG dicussion of this approach to the primer, nor  
discussion of whether a single document like this complies to the  
charter.  So somehow it has gone from an experiment in documentation  
to being discussed as a proposed document.  I don't know if it is  
proposed as rec track or not, and I don't see appropriate discussion  
of its relation to the OWL 1.0 documents that it proposes to replace  
(the Guide, for example, is more comprehensive than this).
  Traditionally one does not review a document until the WG has  
reached some consensus that they want that document to exist - and I  
don't see that discussion having been resolved at this point.
  I'm sorry if I seem obstructionist, but I believe things are being  
pushed through this WG way faster, and with less consensus than WG  
process would seem to indicate, and I believe that organizations that  
are in the minority are not being appropriately listened to.  My  
organization has made this concern in private to the WG chair, and in  
this case I wish to explain, in public, why I am unhappy with the way  
the documents outside of the OWL 1.1 submission, although mandated by  
our charter, are not being appropriately discussed.
  So, in light of the above,  I want to make it clear that:
   I believe the Working Group is reviewing a document that has not  
been appropriately discussed or developed via the W3C process, nor do  
I yet see compelling evidence that this document is compliant with  
the WG charter.
   -Jim Hendler
   AC rep

On Jan 23, 2008, at 5:11 AM, Ivan Herman wrote:

> Bijan, Peter,
> a small comment on
> http://webont.org/owl/documents/primer.html
> The current document says:
> [[[
> Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Schema: Of the  
> technologies discussed in this section, RDF(S) is the closest to  
> OWL. They both have roots in logic based knowledge representation;  
> in many ways, RDF(S) can be seen as a subset of OWL; and, perhaps  
> most prominently, the primary exchange syntax for OWL has been RDF/ 
> XML. However, there are differences of style, emphasis, and common  
> practice that can make relying on RDF(S) intuitions misleading when  
> working with OWL. For example, while OWL statements and expressions  
> can be encoded as RDF facts (triples), the triple view is not  
> typically a fruitful way of writing or understanding complex  
> expressions. Similarly, it is fairly common and effective to work  
> with RDF as a graph data structure or database where the primary  
> focus is on the explicit statements in the graph. Even when we  
> consider parts of RDFS which support implicit knowledge, such as  
> subclass inheritance, the relation between the explicit and  
> implicit statements is very direct. Thus, it is easy to  
> conceptualize inference in terms of graph structure manipulation.
> In contrast, OWL allows for -- and encourages -- operations that  
> are not rooted so directly in the evident structure of an ontology.
> ]]]
> I am not sure how to reconcile this paragraph with our constituency  
> using RDFS plus one of the very simple fragments of OWL1.1 (say,  
> DLP). For those users the last sentence may not be really true;  
> their modus of operation is certainly using RDFS, explicit graph  
> structure, triplets, and direct structure statements (eg, stating  
> that a specific FOAF property is inverse functional in defining FOAF).
> I know there is an open issue somewhere down in the document on how  
> to address fragments in general, and I am not sure what your  
> thoughts on that issue is. But we should avoid creating a possible  
> misunderstanding in an introductory paragraph...
> It may be as simple as saying that in the case of more complex  
> ontologies "OWL allows for -- and encourages --" etc. I am not 100%  
> sure either.
> Ivan
> -- 
> Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
> Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
> PGP Key: http://www.ivan-herman.net/pgpkey.html
> FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf

"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would  
it?." - Albert Einstein

Prof James Hendler				http://www.cs.rpi.edu/~hendler
Tetherless World Constellation Chair
Computer Science Dept
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180
Received on Friday, 25 January 2008 02:47:18 UTC

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