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Re: comments on the SW FAQ

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 07 Apr 2007 12:32:13 +0200
Message-ID: <4617732D.3040305@w3.org>
To: Lee Feigenbaum <feigenbl@us.ibm.com>
CC: public-sweo-ig@w3.org

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Lee & Wing,

this is fabulous. Great set of comments, I agree with almost all of them...

I have some comments below.

THANKS!!!

Lee Feigenbaum wrote:
> These comments from Lee an Wing. Overall, this is a great collection of 
> material about the Semantic Web. There are some things that we think 
> should be changed before publishing, however. Our comments follow:
> ---------------------------
> 
> Q: How would you define the main goals of the Semantic Web?
> 
> We don't believe that the goal of the Semantic Web is "to get people to 
> make their data available to others"; is that the W3C's official position? 
> I don't think that that would be a particularly effective way for me to, 
> for example, sell people inside IBM on the merits of SW technologies. We 
> think the answer to this FAQ is improved by removing that first sentence 
> and starting with "The vision..." from the second sentence.
> 

Agreed. Done.

> 
> Q: What are the major building blocks of the Semantic Web?
> 
> We think that it would be good to mention (and link to) the specific 
> technology standards in this answer.
> 
> 

Let us discuss that. When I wrote this, I tried to avoid diving into to
too much technical details on this answer. There are other sections
where more specific links are added, but I tried to keep to stay in
generality at that point. What do you think?


> Q: What is the “killer application” for the Semantic Web?
> 
> s/"silt //

Done

> 
> 
> Q: Isn’t the Semantic Web just research, or does it have industrial 
> applications?
> 
> s/Isn't/Is/
> 

Done

> The sentence:
> 
> """
> Companies like Oracle, IBM, Adobe, Software AG, or Northrop Grumman are 
> only some of the large corporations that have picked up this technology 
> already, are selling tools as well as complete business solutions.
> """
> 
> doesn't seem right. Maybe the last part should be its own sentence?
> 
> """
> Oracle, IBM, Adobe, Software AG, or Northrop Grumman are only some of the 
> large corporations that have picked up this technology already and are 
> selling tools as well as complete business solutions.
> """
> 

Done

> 
> Q: Does the Semantic Web require users to understand the complicated 
> details of formalized knowledge representation?
> Q: I have heard that the costs of using formal semantics is high, and that 
> makes the Semantic Web unreachable for most. Is that correct?
> 
> These two questions seem to basically be the same. They should probably be 
> combined. We also think that maybe "users" should be "developers"?
> 
> 

Good point. Done.

> Q: Does the existing Web have to be rebuilt for the Semantic Web? 
> 
> We think the question is better phrased as: "How is the Semantic Web 
> related to the existing Web?"
> 

Yep.

> Similarly, we'd like to see a question that notes that Semantic Web 
> technologies are useful outside of the Web. The very first question hints 
> at this when it talks about data integration, etc., but since a tremendous 
> amount of early adoption is in enterprises and not necessarily on the Web, 
> we think it would be good to acknowledge this...
> 

That is controversial, I am not sure how to formulate this. Lots of
people would consider that a 'misuse' of the SW technologies, because
the 'Web' aspect is missing. Can you help writing this down somehow?

> 
> Q: What is the Semantic Web activity at W3C?
> 
> s/regroups/groups together/
> 
> 

Yep.

> Q: What is the Semantic Web activity at W3C?
> 
> "URIs" should probably be a link...
> 

I am not sure what you mean. Both links link to /2001/sw...

Oh! You probably meant the next question! Done

> 
> Q: Where is the “Web” in the Semantic Web?
> 
> We don't think this question fits the answer very well. The answer starts 
> off about URIs (so maybe the question should be "How does the Semantic Web 
> leverage URIs?") and then in the 2nd paragraph talks about the 
> decentralized nature of RDF assertions (which seems to be a separate 
> question). Also, perhaps this can be combined with the earlier question 
> about the relationship between the current Web and the Semantic Web.
> 
> 

Hm. I respectfully disagree, though the formulation might be lousy. The
type of question I get is what differentiates the SW from, say, a
traditional knowledge representation technology? What is the core piece
in the technology puzzle which makes it really a citizen on the Web?
And, in my view, that is where the URI-s come in, and play a fundamental
role in RDF. And that aspect makes the second paragraph's content also
possible.

Can we try to find a better formulation through this?


> Q: What role do ontologies and/or rules have on the Semantic Web?
> 
> """
> Ontologies is a very general term that is meant to “define the concepts 
> and relationships used to describe and represent an area of knowledge”.
> """
> 
> better as:
> 
> """
> Ontologies define the concepts and relationships used to describe and 
> represent an area of knowledge.
> """
> 
> 

Yep!

> Q: What is “inference” on the Semantic Web?
> 
> s/physically added/explicitly added/
> 

yep

> 
> Q: Does the Semantic Web require everybody to subscribe to a single, 
> predefined, giant ontology?
> 
> We think the last sentence in the first paragraph should be removed.
> 

O.k. I actually like this fractal comparison, but I will not put up a
fight for this:-) Removed.

> We think the final sentence of the second paragraph is better as:
> 
> """
> Agreement need only be local, but adoption of vocabulary from existing 
> ontologies facilitates data sharing and integration.
> """
> 

Yep.

> 
> Q: Do the Semantic Web technologies for Ontology development impose an 
> extra burden on the ontology developers?
> 
> We think this question is better as: "What is involved in developing an 
> ontology using Semantic Web technologies?"
> 

Yep.

> 
> Q: Will W3C be standardizing any particular ontologies?
> 
> EARL might be a good example here.
> 
> 

Good point!

> Q: Is there an uptake in public datasets for the Semantic Web? Are there 
> major data published for the Semantic Web already?
> 
> The question would be better as: "What major public data sets are 
> available for the Semantic Web?"
> 
> dbpedia should definitely be included here. maybe govtrack to? Mike 
> Bergman's recent essay on dbpedia had a great list of RDFdata sets ( 
> http://www.mkbergman.com/?p=354 ).
> 

Yeah, this shows the difficulty for such a FAQ; when I wrote the first
version of this (last September) dbpedia did not exist yet... I have
changed the first entry to dpbedia and I have also added a link to
Mike's blog (thanks!)


> 
> Q: … XML Schemas? What does ontologies buy me that XML and XML Schema 
> don't?
> 
> s/does ontologies/do ontologies/
> 


/me blushes:-(

> 
> Q: … folskonomies, microformats, tagging
> 
> We have suggested new text for the answer to this question (involves 
> splitting it up into two questions also):
> 
> """
> ... tagging, folksonomies 
>  
>  Tagging as emerged as a popular method of categorizing content. Users are 
> allowed to attach arbitrary strings to their data items (for example, blog 
> entries and photographs). While tagging is easy and somewhat useful, it 
> destroys a lot of the semantics of the data. In the Semantic Web, instead 
> of tagging data items with strings, they can be related to other 
> resources, like ones representing people and places. The relationships are 
> very specific, like who took the photograph, who is in the photograph, 
> where the photograph was taken. 
>  
>  ... microformats 
>  
>  Microformats are usually relatively small and simple sets of terms, and 
> must be agreed upon by a community. Data models developed within the 
> framework of the Semantic Web have the potential to be more expressive, 
> rigorous, and formal (and are usually larger). Both can be used to express 
> structured data within web pages. In some cases, microformats are 
> appropriate because the extra features provided by Semantic Web 
> technologies are not necessary. Other cases requiring more rigor will not 
> be able to use microformats. 
>  
>  Another difference appears in the way microformats are used by programs. 
> For example, one has to develop a program well-adapted to a particular 
> microformat, to the way it uses, say, the class and title attributes, 
> whereas the generality of the Semantic Web tools makes it easier to reuse 
> existing tools, eg, a query language. It also becomes difficult (though 
> possible) to combine different microformats whereas, combining statements 
> from different origins easily belongs to the very essence of the Semantic 
> Web. 
>  
>  Note that the GRDDL Working Group has developed a “bridge”... 
> """
> 

Brilliant! It was my mistake to lump these into one question, and this
separation makes much cleaner indeed.

> 
> Q: Does the Semantic Web require to manually markup all the existing 
> web-pages, or to convert all the data in relational databases into RDF?
> 
> s/require to manually/require me to manually/
> 

Yep

> 
> Q: Does the Semantic Web require to put all my data into the public? What 
> about my sensitive data?
> 
> s/require to put/require me to put/
> s/into the public/into the public domain/
> 
> 

Yep.

> Q: What can I read to understand?
> 
> The question mght be better as: "How can I learn more about the Semantic 
> Web?"
> 

Yep


> 
> -- General Comments --
> 
> We think that the last section of questions (How do I participate in the 
> Semantic Web?) belongs much earlier in the document. We think that the 
> technical questions in the section "Questions on RDF, Ontologies, Rules…" 
> probably belongs last.

I see your point. I have moved the "Question on RDF..." as the last
section, that is probably better. The first two sections are on the
positioning of the SW, the third one is how do I participate, and the
last one with more techie questions. It is better this way indeed.

> 
> We (well, Lee especially :-) ) were quite surprised that there's only one 
> mention of SPARQL in the entire document. (And that's in a parenthetical 
> with no explanation, furthermore.) At the very least, SPARQL should be 
> mentioned in the early question about the building blocks of the Semantic 
> Web, and the SPARQL FAQ ( http://thefigtrees.net/lee/sw/sparql-faq ) 
> should be referenced. 
> 

/me blushes (again...)

I have added two entries to the last section as follows (with
appropriate links):

[[[
Q: How can I query RDF data?

The W3C Data Access Working Group has developed the SPARQL Query
Language. SPARQL defines queries in terms of graph patterns that are
matched against the directed graph representing the RDF data. SPARQL
contains capabilities for querying required and optional graph patterns
along with their conjunctions and disjunctions. The result of the match
can also be used to construct new RDF graphs using separate graph patterns.

SPARQL can be used as part of a general programming environment, like
Jena, but queries can also be sent as messages to a remote SPARQL
endpoints using the companion technologies  SPARQL Protocol and SPARQL
Query Result in XML. Using such SPARQL endpoints, applications can query
remote RDF data and even construct new RDF graphs, without any local
processing or programming burden. For more questions on SPARQL, see also
the separate FAQ on SPARQL.

Q: Why not use SQL and/or XQuery to query RDF data? Why develop yet
another query language?

SPARQL is a query language developed for the RDF data model; queries
themselves look and act like RDF. Ie, the queries are independent of the
physical representation of the RDF data (the structure of the databases,
their representation in an RDF/XML file, etc). If query was done via,
for example, by XQuery, the application would have to know how that
particular RDF data exactly represented as RDF/XML (and RDF/XML is only
one of the possible serialization of the RDF data).
]]]



> We're curious about the final presentation of this document. We have two 
> -- somewhat mutually exclusive -- suggestions. The first is that the FAQ 
> could be made into a wiki page. There are a fair amount of small wording 
> issues which we did not highlight above that we (or others) could much 
> more easily fix if the FAQ were a wiki pgae. Alternatively, if the page is 
> not intended to be a wiki, we'd like to suggest using the FAQ system that 
> Lee developed for the SPARQL FAQ. The  system for that FAQ has several 
> nice properties which are explained here: 
> http://thefigtrees.net/lee/blog/2006/10/the_sparql_faq_faq_printing_up_2.html 
> . (The look and feel is easily customizable with CSS, of course.)
> 

Yeah! Again, this FAQ was born before that one was created...

I am not very much in favour of a wiki page for this. I am a bit afraid
of being spammed, frankly....

I will try to reproduce Lee's mechanism. I think it looks great and
makes the whole thing much less 'intimidating'.

However, this would take a slightly more time, so I update the file in
its current format. I will then play with the new format...

Thanks again!!


Ivan

> 
> Lee & Wing 

- --

Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
URL: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
PGP Key: http://www.cwi.nl/%7Eivan/AboutMe/pgpkey.html
FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf
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Received on Saturday, 7 April 2007 10:31:55 GMT

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