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Re: RDF-ISSUE-110 (g-box): A proper term for the concept formerly known as ?g-box?? [RDF Concepts]

From: Thomas Baker <tom@tombaker.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2012 10:47:02 -0500
To: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
Cc: RDF Working Group WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20121120154702.GA52083@julius>
On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 09:52:03AM +0000, Richard Cyganiak wrote:
> As stated in the issue description, the term will be used in the informative
> introduction to RDF Concepts, specifically in sections 1.5 and 1.6:
> http://dvcs.w3.org/hg/rdf/raw-file/default/rdf-concepts/index.html#change-over-time
> 
> It will not be *normatively* defined, and will not be used anywhere in
> normative text in any of the documents.

Understood.

> The bar for some informative text in the introduction is considerably lower
> than the bar for a normative concept that becomes part of the formally
> defined RDF data model. This informative use does not preclude any future WGs
> from normatively defining the same concept, or a similar concept, using a
> different name.

Also understood.  But any term introduced in RDF Concepts, however
"informatively", will surely be picked up elsewhere.  People will want to know
more about RDF Sources than just their name and that they are "persistent but
mutable" resources that may change their state.

> > For example, can we
> > just substitute "space" with "source" from the following [1]?
> > 
> >    An RDF space [=> source] is anything that can reasonably be said to
> >    explicitly contain zero or more RDF triples and has an identity distinct
> >    from the triples it contains. 
> 
> No. ?RDF source? has no strict definition, 

Understood.  But if the concept did not have at least a rough, informal
definition, why would we even give it a name?

> and questions of containment or identity are not addressed.

But the text, as it currently stands [1], is not entirely silent on these issues.
It says they can be named with IRIs, and the phrase "source or container", in
the absence of further explanation, hints (ambiguously) that "source" may be
synonymous with "container".

[1] http://dvcs.w3.org/hg/rdf/raw-file/default/rdf-concepts/index.html#change-over-time

> > I am curious how we ended up with "source"
> 
> Go to the tracker, find ISSUE-110, read the thread.

That thread is pretty short and does not capture the preceding discussion.  In
my reading, the ISSUE-110 thread says _that_ the group ended up with "source",
but not how.

> > it was not one of the
> > half-dozen or so options bandied about a few months ago [1]:
> 
> That document was a personal draft produced by the four people named at the
> top of the document, and reflects their personal opinions, preferences and
> biases. It is in no way a complete or even particularly representative
> reflection of what was discussed in the WG.

I have no doubt.  But it would be great if the WG could say a bit more about
this issue, somewhere other than in RDF Concepts, if only a paragraph or two
drawing out a few key points from that long and, at times, insightful
discussion.  If RDF Concepts has called them RDF Sources, those two paragraphs
somewhere should say something about this choice of terms.  Was it just a coin
toss?  Even if the group cannot agree on anything more than a name, the reasons
why this was so would surely be of interest -- more, at any rate, than just
"for more information, see public-rdf-wg".

Tom

-- 
Tom Baker <tom@tombaker.org>
Received on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:47:42 GMT

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