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Re: What *is* RDF?

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2011 09:43:44 +0200
Message-ID: <AANLkTi=vDivZ6F5zHbNEu0N29WkBGg4UPUe-iACCyXhr@mail.gmail.com>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: Alex Hall <alexhall@revelytix.com>, RDF Working Group WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
On 1 April 2011 01:07, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> wrote:
> On Mar 31, 2011, at 8:48 AM, Alex Hall wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 8:22 AM, Peter Frederick Patel-Schneider
> <pfps@research.bell-labs.com> wrote:

>> > I'd suggest one tweak, "An RDF graph is a set of *facts*" seems rather
>> > idealistic (in the nicest way). It suggests each triple can be
>> > (usefully) interpreted as a true statement about the world. Lots of
>> > RDF data is just plain wrong, out of date, malicious
>> > (over-enthusiastic SEO) or by some design capturing non-current
>> > worldview - logs, archives, etc. The original RDF specs talked about
>> > statements. I've tended to use 'claims' more recently but maybe that
>> > brings the notion of "who is the claimer here?" prematurely into the
>> > foreground. RDF documents that contain falsehoods are presumably
>> > somehow "still RDF", and can be managed using the same tool chain -
>> > eg. consulted in SPARQL databases.
>> >
>> > "... uses RDF graps to represent factual information" is a tiny bit
>> > softer; I think people would intuitively accept the notion that not
>> > every fragment of "factual information" must always be correct. And
>> > then maybe, "... is a set of statements or RDF triples, each of
>> > which...".
>> >
>> > cheers,
>> >
>> > Dan
>> My experience in the US is that there are a lot of false facts readily
>> available for public consumption and there is no general distinction
>> made between true facts and false facts.  However, "fact"->"statement"
>> seems like a good change.
>> I don't know if I would use "factual information", maybe that is the
>> role of RDF graps.
>> peter
> I like the term "assertion" in this context -- a bit stronger than
> "statement" but not quite as strong as "fact".
> I like it also, as it is exactly right. A statement that is claimed to be
> true is an assertion; an assertion that is actually true is a fact.
> Publishing some RDF is making the claim. Spot on.

Maybe the discomfort with 'false facts' is a US-English vs UK-English
thing. We use to use 'factoid' in the FOAF community to sidestep that
one, but the dominant use of that term is for dodgy or trivial
information - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factoid#Other_meanings

FWIW the original RDF/XML markup used 'assertion' explicitly as an
element name for serialized statements:

e.g. from http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-rdf-syntax-971002/ an archaic form
(this isn't even XML any more :),

<?namespace href="http://docs.r.us.com/bibliography-info" as="bib"?>
<?namespace href="http://www.w3.org/schemas/rdf-schema" as="RDF"?>
  <RDF:assertions href="http://www.bar.com/some.doc">
    <bib:author href="#John_Smith"/>

<RDF:resource id="John_Smith">
  <bib:name>John Smith</bib:name>
  <bib:phone>+1 (555) 123-4567</bib:phone>

So yes I'd go with "Publishing some RDF is making the claim",
"assertion" and "statement", reserving "fact" for those special times
when it's actually true.

At least we've avoided "proposition" so far...

Received on Friday, 1 April 2011 07:44:17 UTC

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