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

From: Rinke Hoekstra <hoekstra@uva.nl>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 10:26:08 +0100
Cc: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, 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
Message-Id: <F263B4DE-994C-4DC4-8AC4-78882318869C@uva.nl>
To: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.rpi.edu>

Hi Jim,

At the F2F we had a long discussion about these documents [1], and the  
straw poll showed that many of us were in favour of starting from  
scratch on Overview, Guide and Reference documents. (see also Bijan's  
recap of the polls in [2]) One proposal (from Bijan) was to replace  
the Overview and Guide documents with a primer (another was to create  
new versions in the spirit of the old ones). As we weren't sure what  
that would turn out to be, Bijan was asked to write-up a draft which  
we could discuss (in the UFDTF) to see whether we as a WG thought this  
could be an good replacement of the 1.0 style documents.

I appreciate your concern for the current discussion, but no decision  
has been made about the status of the primer, and there has been no  
formal request to review from the WG chairs other than putting a  
discussion of these documents on the agenda for the UFDTF meeting next  

I guess some of us (i.e. me) just got a little carried away by  
excitement :)



[1] http://www.w3.org/2007/OWL/wiki/F2F1_Minutes#User_Facing_Documents
[2] http://www.w3.org/2007/OWL/wiki/Experiments_with_documents#Background_on_the_Proposal

On 25 jan 2008, at 03:46, Jim Hendler wrote:

> 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
>   RPI
> 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

Drs. Rinke Hoekstra

Email: hoekstra@uva.nl    Skype:  rinkehoekstra
Phone: +31-20-5253499     Fax:   +31-20-5253495
Web:   http://www.leibnizcenter.org/users/rinke

Leibniz Center for Law,          Faculty of Law
University of Amsterdam,            PO Box 1030
1000 BA  Amsterdam,             The Netherlands
Received on Friday, 25 January 2008 09:26:22 UTC

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