W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-sw-meaning@w3.org > November 2003

Re: The RDF Approach to Indicating Language-In-Use

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 13:29:03 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: public-sw-meaning@w3.org

At 12:59 31/10/03 -0500, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
> > Well, since you ask, I imagine that we could produce a three-part
> > statement:
> >
> > 1/ The SW meaning of a set of SW documents in a SW language is completely
> >    determined from the normative specification of the SW language and the
> >    contents of these SW documents.
> >
> > 2/ The meaning of a set of SW documents does not necessarily include any of
> >    the meaning of any other document, except for those SW documents whose
> >    meaning is explicitly required to be a part of the meaning of the SW
> >    documents by the normative specification of the SW language and the
> >    contents of these SW documents.
> >
> > 3/ Applications are free to augment this meaning, perhaps by including the
> >    meaning of other SW documents, but are prohibited from indicating that
> >    this augmented meaning is part of the meaning that comes from the SW
> >    language.
> >
> > So, as far as RDF is concerned, the meaning of a set of SW documents in
> > RDF/XML is determined solely from the RDF graph that results from the
> > parsing of these documents and is not dependent on the contents of
> > any other document.   OWL extends this to bring in the meaning of
> > imported documents.

I think this is fine, and useful, as a description of 'SW meaning'.

But I'm not sure that SW meaning has sufficient "meaning" to usefully 
relate SW application behaviour to user's expectations.  Under what 
circumstances can a user regard the output of a SW application as being 
correct, and when so, to what question is it the correct answer?  I don't 
see 'SW meaning' telling us any of this.

Yet application writers need to understand how programs interact with the 
world of their users.  Maybe you're right that it's not our role (as 
technologists) to define that, but I think that we (a) are reasonably 
involved in the debate, and (b) should try to clarify the boundary (and 
your description of SW meaning appears to help do that).


Graham Klyne
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Received on Thursday, 6 November 2003 09:12:41 UTC

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