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Re: re-opening the DESCRIBE issue

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@isr.umd.edu>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 11:39:20 -0400
Message-Id: <d77f42677462642fafd57ebf3a955443@isr.umd.edu>
Cc: "Eric Prud'hommeaux" <eric@w3.org>, RDF Data Access Working Group <public-rdf-dawg@w3.org>
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>

On Apr 3, 2006, at 11:24 AM, Dan Connolly wrote:

> On Mon, 2006-04-03 at 11:11 -0400, Bijan Parsia wrote:
>> On Apr 3, 2006, at 10:56 AM, Eric Prud'hommeaux wrote:
>> [snip]
>>> I propose the following text:
>>> [[ http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/DataAccess/rq23/#describe
>>> 10.4 Descriptions of Resources
>>>
>>> Current conventions for DESCRIBE constrain it to return an RDF
>>> graph.
>>
>> You mean the specification? Isn't there reason to leave that a bit
>> open, e.g.,
>> 	DESCRIBE according to CBF as HTML
>>
>> I.e., why put in *this* constraint (convention?)?
>
> Part of the reason is that EricP is getting sorta conflicting
> advice and trying to work a bit rapidly.
>
> If you have words that you'd prefer, I'd very much like to see them.
>
> If you don't, I can understand.

How about:

DESCRIBE is currently not constrained at all. The Working Group felt 
that the abstract functionality was useful, but there was little field 
experience to guide standardization. The most common understanding of 
DESCRIBE is that it returns an subset of the queried graph that is 
relevant to the resource, but the nature of the relevance function has 
not been settled. Furthermore, it's possible that other relations 
(e.g., metadata not in the graph, statistics about the resource, etc.) 
and other return formats (HTML) may be part of the DESCRIBE form.

Hmm. This is all non-normative, except maybe the first sentence. 
Frankly, I think that is as it should be. Since it really *isn't* 
specified, even to the small degree hinted, we shouldn't pretend it is.

Cheers,
Bijan.
Received on Monday, 3 April 2006 15:39:33 GMT

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