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retronyms, Abstract/Maintained Graph (was Re: A radical proposal.)

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 13:07:49 -0400
Message-ID: <503511E5.3020709@w3.org>
To: Andy Seaborne <andy.seaborne@epimorphics.com>
CC: public-rdf-wg@w3.org
On 08/21/2012 03:33 AM, Andy Seaborne wrote:
>
>
> On 20/08/12 16:30, Sandro Hawke wrote:
>> If it wouldn't cause SPARQL too many problems, I'd suggest we should do
>> the same with dataset, and even allow a dataset to be a kind of graph, I
>> think, so that the world at large can use the word term "RDF dataset"
>> for any collection of RDF data (whether or not it's segmented into named
>> graphs).
>
> That would be problematic.  "RDF Dataset" is a specifically defined 
> term.  "Dataset" we can be loose about (c.f. VoiD) ; "RDF Dataset" is 
> stressing the tie to a particular definition.  You might as well mix 
> properties and triples if you're going to mix things of different 
> "shape".

In the telecon, I mentioned on irc the term "bacronym" but what I meant 
was "retronym".   These are terms like "cow milk" that arise once some 
term ("milk") becomes ambiguous (eg because of soy milk, almond milk, 
rice milk, etc).  See

I take the "radical proposal" to be the recognition that some terms are 
ambiguous and we need to make retronyms to disambiguate them.

Here's a revised proposal:

   - We pick terms like "Abstract RDF Graph" (gsnap) and "Maintained RDF 
Graph" (gbox) that fit the retronym model.   It makes it easy, when 
someone says "graph" or "RDF Graph", to think/ask, "do you mean abstract 
or maintained?"     (I don't find these terms quite as ontologically 
comfortable as g-snap and g-box/space/data-source, because it makes them 
both be subclasses of "graph", but I think this approach  works better 
for the community.)

   - We clarify that in all W3C specs to date, "RDF Graph" means 
"Abstract RDF Graph"

   - Going forward, we avoid using the term "RDF Graph", using either 
Abstract Graph or Maintained Graph  (with or without "RDF" in there).   
Or just "graph" when we don't care which kind.

I think that much of the confusion around the term "named graph" comes 
from a lack of clarity around whether what is meant is a "named abstract 
graph" or a "named maintained graph".   I think the latter is much more 
common; the difference doesn't manifest in SPARQL 1.0 because it doesn't 
consider the idea of data changing. In my mind, this proposal is our 
best chance for being able to coherently keep using the term "named 
graph", which seems to be very popular.

BTW, I think we might also want to define "Frozen" graph, which is a 
maintained graph in the sense that it exists in a computer's storage, 
but which is required to never change.    This is, I think, mostly what 
PROV wants to use.

     -- Sandro
Received on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 17:08:02 UTC

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