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Re: RDF Semantics Editors Draft?

From: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2012 12:53:55 +0100
Cc: David Wood <david@3roundstones.com>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, public-rdf-wg WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <8B640D4F-2B88-4DB9-9630-1D5531ED5CE6@cyganiak.de>
To: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfpschneider@gmail.com>
Hi Peter,

On 4 May 2012, at 09:52, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
> Well I think that it would be a horrible idea to deemphasize the semantics.
> 
> I'm also completely unsure as to what name could be any better than RDF Semantics.

Let's consider who reads the RDF Semantics document, and for what reasons. From what I gather, we can identify a number of different cases. I'm sure there are many more:

1) Spec writers read it, in order to understand how to make their specifications compatible with other specifications in the RDF stack. For example, neither the RDB2RDF WG nor the SPARQL WG could have done its work without knowing the things formally specified in RDF Semantics.

2) Implementers of various specs (incl. RDF, RDF Schema, SPARQL) read it, in order to understand how their systems should behave, especially with regard to datatypes and RDFS inference.

3) Authors of RDF Schema vocabularies read it, in order to understand the consequences of declaring domains, ranges, subproperties and so on.

4) RDF newbies read it, because this is where they happened to end up after some googling or link-clicking and they don't understand the big scheme of things yet.

How well does the current document serve these needs?

For 1), I think it works well.

For 2) and 3), I think the document as it stands does not serve these readers well, and it could do a *much* better job. We have reports that such readers tend to find the informative entailment rules in Section 7 extremely useful, and much of the rest of the document rather impenetrable. It has thus been suggested that the entailment rules should be given more prominence. One minimally invasive way of achieving this would be to just move the words “normative” and “informative” around a bit. I suppose this is what Ivan refers to when he says “reorganize to make the rules normative and deemphasize the model-theoretic semantics”.

For 4), the document as it stands doesn't work at all, and it can't, because that's not its purpose. In fact, when newbies try reading this document, it's pretty much guaranteed to end in disaster. I think we all agree that this is *not* the document you should be looking at in your first encounter with RDF. There isn't *too* much we can do about this, but I think that a title that is a bit scarier to newbies could help. Can we put something like “model theory” or “formal representation logic” into the title?

> Of course, if the WG wants to make RDF no longer be a formal representational logic, then ....

I thought RDF is a data model?

Best,
Richard



> 
> peter
> 
> 
> On 04/25/2012 11:27 AM, David Wood wrote:
>> Hi Peter and Pat,
>> 
>> The RDF WG briefly discussed the need for an RDF Semantics editors draft at today's telecon.  I am aware that there are a lot of open issues and therefore hard to produce a draft, but perhaps it makes sense to have a single document that lists the issues in one place.
>> 
>> In any event, we would like to discuss this at next week's telecon if you can make it.  Thanks.
>> 
>> Relevant comments from IRC (no log published yet since the meeting isn't over):
>> [[
>> ivan: one thing that came up early was discussion to change title of RDF Semantics document, reorganize to make the rules normative and deemphasize the model-theoretic semantics AlexHall @ 11:20
>> ... think it's a good thing to do but huge amount of editorial work AlexHall @ 11:20
>> cygri: is there an editors draft of RDF Semantics yet? 11:21
>> [no] 11:21
>> cygri: given that there are larger changes to the doc, would feel better if there were an editors draft by now. 11:21
>> guus: suggest we should put it on the agenda for next week
>> ]]
>> 
>> Regards,
>> Dave
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
Received on Friday, 4 May 2012 11:54:26 GMT

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