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[ACTION-925] Review of RIF Guide

From: Leora Morgenstern <leora@cs.nyu.edu>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 18:14:53 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <60529.>
To: kifer@cs.sunysb.edu, Harold.Boley@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca, public-rif-wg@w3.org
My review of Michael Kifer and Harold Boley's RIF Guide follows below.

Best regards,

Review of RIF Guide:

My overall impressions are very positive. This is a much needed document,
and will doubtless be a frequently --- perhaps the most frequently ---
read RIF document.

I have two general suggestions for improvement. The first is in the area
of incompleteness; the second is in the area of style.

1) There are two RIF documents that are not mentioned in this guide: RIF
Combination with XML data, and OWL 2 RL in RIF. These should be at least
briefly discussed in the guide. In addition, there is one OWL document,
rdf:PlainLiteral, which is linked from the RIF home page, and which should
probably be mentioned in the guide.

2) There is a definite slant in this document. There is much more
discussion about the issue of dialects, and how they can be specialized,
than there is about the integration of RIF with OWL or RDF. (I appreciate
this particular slant, but others may not.)

There are three sorts of stylistic problems in this document. The first is
the infelicities that sometimes occur when non-native speakers write.
(Please don't take this as criticism; I could never write anything nearly
as well in anything but English, and I'm always amazed at how well
non-native speakers do.) There are many cases of mistaken use of
indefinite and definite articles, for example. The second is errors that
sometimes arise from hasty writing and rewriting, such as run-on
sentences. Third, and most important, there are cases where the writing
just isn't as clear as it could be.

Below, I've taken the liberty of suggesting changes for many of these
stylistic issues.

p. 1, line 3
"RIF went the exchange route"
"RIF focused on exchange"

(first is too informal)

p. 1, line 3,4
"unlike for other Semantic Web standards"
"in contrast to other Semantic Web standards"

p. 2, line 1
"will not cover all the popular paradigms"
"would not cover all popular paradigms"

p. 2, line 2
"Even rule exchange alone"
"Even rule exchange itself"

"was quickly recognized as a daunting task"
"was quickly recognized to be a daunting task, primarily because of the
differences between different categories of rule systems. There are three
such broad categories ...."

p. 2, line 4
"share very little in terms of syntax and semantics, and there are large"
"share very little in the way of syntax and semantics. Moreover, there are

p. 2, par  2, last line:
"as possible of the syntactic and semantic apparatus"
"as possible of the existing syntactic and semantic apparatus"

p. 2, 3rd paragraph could stand with some major rewriting. How about:
"Because of the emphasis on rigor, the word format in the name of RIF is
somewhat of an understatement. RIF in fact provides more than just a
format. However, the concept of format is essential to the way RIF is
intended to be used. Ultimately, the medium of exchange between different
rule systems is XML, a format for data exchange. . Central to the idea
behind rule exchange through RIF is that different systems provide
syntactic mappings ... " [rest of paragraph can remain as is.]

It would help to add a 1-2 sentence paragraph giving an overview of the
next few sections.

p. 2, first par of section 2, first line:
"The RIF Working Group has been focusing"
"The RIF  Working Group has focused"

further down in par:
"Given the limited resources"
"Due to the limited resources"

p. 2, last sentence of section 2
"all share those foundations of"
"all share the foundations of"

p. 3, line 1:
"Development of the RIF framework turned out to be feasible"
"Developing the RIF framework turned out to be feasible"

p. 3, lines 2,3:
"they share much of the syntactic and semantic machinery, and the ways to
combine ... are well-studied."
"they share much of the same syntactic and semantic machinery. Moreover,
the ways to combine ... are well studied."

p. 3, par 2, first and second lines:
"RIF-FLD is a very general logic language ... apparatus, but it purposely
leaves ..."
"RIF-FLD is a very general logic language ...apparatus; however, it
purposely leaves ..."

p. 3, Section 4, second line:
"the RIF Working Group also defined"
"the RIF Working Group has also defined"

p. 3, Section 5, first line:
"The RIF Working Group has produced a significant number of documents ..."
Replace "significant number" with the exact number
"some of which" => "most of which" ??? (If "most" is not true, then at
least give a closer estimate than "some")

p. 3, bullet point on bottom:
"This is one of the two main dialects developed by the group so far and
the main logic-based dialect"
"This is one of the two main dialects, and the main logic-based dialect,
developed by the group so far."

p. 4, line 3
"many of the existing rule systems"
"many existing rule systems"

p. 4, line 4
"starting point for the future, more expressive dialects"
"starting point for future, more expressive dialects"

p. 4, bullet point on DTB:
"it is necessary that most of the commonly used datatypes"
"it is necessary that most commonly used datatypes"

same line:
"as well as built-in functions and predicates"
"and built-in functions and predicates"

next line:
"their semantics is defined precisely"
"their semantics are defined precisely"

(Actually, this is one grammatical point that could be argued. Semantics
can be used as a singular or plural noun. However, it seems clear that
here it is plural, since there may be different semantics for the
different predicates and functions.)

As mentioned above, this section should include reference to some RIF
documents not currently included. Likewise, the References section should
include links to these documents.

Leora Morgenstern, Ph.D.
Received on Friday, 25 September 2009 22:15:34 UTC

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