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

RE: metadata vs. "structured data"

From: Neil McNaughton <neil@oilit.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 10:36:06 +0200
To: <bob@snee.com>, "'Ben Adida'" <ben@mit.edu>
Cc: "'RDFa'" <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>
Message-ID: <116701c6f747$73778830$0200a8c0@SONY>

One useful distinction that is in use by some is that 'metadata' refers to
data about the data within the object - eg BananaML - <length> 12 cm ...
And the term 'master data' is used about data/information that may or may
not be within the object but that has currency outside of the object itself
eg BananaML - <importer> Big Fruit Co Ltd....
It seems to me that RDF's intent is to make master data (as above)
accessible to other readers/applications that don't know or care about the
details of BananaML itself? Is this right?

Neil McNaughton

Editor, Oil IT Journal (www.oilit.com)
In an independent 2005 survey by Houston-based Spur Digital, 
www.oilit.com was found to be the "Top Website for Energy IT Professionals".

www.oilit.com currently receives between 1500 and 2000 visitors per day.

-----Original Message-----
From: public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Bob DuCharme
Sent: 23 October 2006 19:26
To: Ben Adida
Cc: RDFa
Subject: metadata vs. "structured data"


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

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