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Re: Ontology editor + why RDF?

From: Tom Stambaugh <tms@stambaugh-inc.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 09:13:31 -0400
Message-ID: <005001c65720$67fafdb0$0200a8c0@TMSMAIN>
To: "deWaard, Anita \(ELS\)" <A.dewaard@elsevier.com>, <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

Anita, quoting VK, wrote:
> However, practically, I recognise internal discussions along the lines 
> that
> Vipul Kashyap has mentioned, such as:
> [VK] "When you try to sell the concept of RDF, etc. to an IT shop, they 
> will
> ask: what do we gain by moving to RDF, when what you are representing is
> already represented using existing data formats/models? [...]
> At an intuitive level, this is fine, but what the SW community needs to
> provide the world is with a proof and demonstration that this actually
> happens and what are the cost-benefit trade-offs involved."

I was in the industry when the first demos of the first spreadsheet 
(visicalc) were being demonstrated. I distinctly remember corporate 
decision-makers -- NOT just IT people, but including IT people -- saying "we 
can already print these 'spreadsheets', we print reams of them every day. I 
don't see what this toy does for us." If we sincerely believe we have a 
better mousetrap, then shouldn't we be catching mice instead of worrying 
about skeptics?

I suggest that, especially in the community represented on this mailing 
list, our time is best devoted to *DOING* this work. The most effective 
"proof and demonstration" is a working prototype that solves a specific 
need -- and a workable solution to one or more of the use cases already 
presented here as an excellent starting point. Rather than debate buzzwords 
and acronyms, won't it be more helpful for us to solve the problem, using 
whatever technologies get us to a workable result? Those of us who are 
convinced that RDF is the answer will, in this paradigm, start with RDF. 
Those of us who are convinced that RDB semantics are the answer will, in 
this paradigm, start with RDB. It seems to me that we could then have a 
well-grounded and informative discussion among multiple groups of developers 
who have each attempted to solve the same problem using different 
technologies -- I'm reasonably certain that each will ultimately provide 
insight that helps the other, and the solution we're all seeking will emerge 
from the dialog. I'd rather see us discussing what we've *done*, and what 
specific challenges we face, then what we're going to do and what *might* 
come up.

Thanks,
Tom
Received on Monday, 3 April 2006 13:13:44 UTC

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