W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org > October 2006

metadata vs. "structured data"

From: Bob DuCharme <bob@snee.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 13:25:49 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <14716.>
To: "Ben Adida" <ben@mit.edu>
Cc: "RDFa" <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>

On Sat, October 21, 2006 6:19 pm, Ben Adida wrote:

> I've come to think that the word "metadata" is indeed confusing, even if
> it is often correct. So I'm trying out this new wording of "structured
> data." Let's see what everyone thinks.

Because it's common for people to use the term "structured data" to refer
to XML and even to relational data (leading some to call XML
"semi-structured" data), its use in a discussion of RDFa is even more
confusing than saying "metadata." An XHTML document is already structured
data, so the use of the term in the Primer makes it much vaguer now about
what exactly RDFa lets you add to an XHTML document.

I noticed that the word "metadata" is completely removed from the the
document, which I think is a big mistake. When I gave a presentation to a
magazine publishing group about what XHTML2 would do for them, I had
several slides on RDFa, and they really liked it. They want simple ways to
store metadata (e.g. workflow, provenance, and search metadata) about
documents and about identifiable components of documents. RDF/XML is too
complicated for them, but RDFa can address their issues at a level they
can understand.

As with unsuccessful marketing literature, the use of broader terminology
to make something sound applicable to a wider range of problems only makes
the language vaguer, making it more difficult for people to understand the
problems that can be solved.

Bob DuCharme
Received on Monday, 23 October 2006 17:26:13 UTC

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