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Comments to Semantic Web FAQ [1/2]

From: Uldis Bojars <uldis.bojars@deri.org>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 02:23:09 +0100
To: public-sweo-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <01MFH10ZKLZ0001BXM@beacon.nuigalway.ie>

Hi All,

I ran the FAQ by a person who's not a Semantic Web hacker (is a marketing
"hacker" instead, but won't run away on the first mention of RDF) to see how
it looks from the "outside". As the Semantic Web gets wider application
areas the FAQ will get more and more used by people not directly involved
with it and we should think about them now. So - here are some overall
comments from us both - and I'll send some more technical comments on
Monday, in a follow-up message.

First of all, the FAQ is very good and comprehensive already. Dynamic JS for
expanding the answers makes it even nicer. Thanks, Ivan, Lee and everyone

Suggestion: change the link text for expanding answers (currently "expand")
to "expand all the questions". It is important if someone wants to print the
FAQ and making this more clear will only help. Full sentence after the
> Alternatively, you can [expand all the questions] (or [collapse them])
with one click.


Some of the answers are long and visually very dense, and may scare readers
Examples are: 1.1; first part of 1.2; 2.3; 2.7; 2.8; 3.1; 3.5.

Maybe you can make these answers lighter by reformatting them, revising the
text or splitting into two.

> 1.1. How would you define the main goals of the Semantic Web?

Replace "firstly," and "secondly," with a numbered list. Reformat the next
paragraph (starting with "Semantic Web technologies can be used in ...")
into a bullet list instead of one large chunk of text.

Change the first paragraph to "The vision of the Semantic Web is to extend
principles of the Web form documents to data".

About content of this question: It is good to start with a vision, goals or
a "why" statement. But there is a mismatch between the formulation of this
question and the answer provided:
 - A question talks about "the goals of the Semantic Web". The answer, on
the other hand, does not explain the goals. It talks about what the Semantic
Web will allow and how can these technologies be used. Those are important
questions, but do not directly give an answer about the goals.

Uldis: I can't offer a better formulation. The vision / goals parts are the
hardest to formulate. Maybe someone on the list can offer a stronger
formulation. The "zip-code" example is a good start, but probably we can
find a more breath-taking example as well.

> 1.2 What are the major building blocks of the Semantic Web.

In order to achieve the goals <a href="#would">described above</a> - this
link is broken.

The first part of this answer does not directly talk about the building
blocks. Plus it is quite long. Without additional knowledge about the
Semantic Web it seems like the last part (the bullet list) has main
information about the building blocks. Re. the 1st part - is it the main
advantage or building block that relationships can be bi-directional?

Re. link to [RDF] - currently it links to W3C page about RDF. Another
possibility is to link to a FAQ question explaining what is RDF (may need to
create one) and let it link to the W3C page.

> 1.5. Is the Semantic Web just research, or does it have industrial

Remove "Not any more.". Someone may understand it as related to the second
part of the question.

> 1.6. I have heard that the Semantic Web require developers to understand
the complicated details of formalized knowledge representation. Does't that
makes the Semantic Web unreachable for most?

The question is too long.
Can it be reformulated?

When the answer talks about "users" is it end-users or developers?
To balange it you could replace the second mention of "the user" ("What the
user needs to operate") with "the developer".

> 1.9. What is the Semantic Web activity at W3C?

"goals is" -> "goals are"

> 2.1. . Artificial Intelligence?

"ie the merge of knowledge" -> "i.e. merging of knowledge" ?

> 2.3. . XML? When should I use RDF and when should I use XML?

A long text.

Add a line break in the 2nd paragraph before "However, combining different
XML hierarchies" or before "XML is not an easy tool".
If this is a list of strengths / differences make it a numbered list.

> 2.4. . XML Schemas? What do ontologies buy me that XML and XML Schema

2nd item in the list says "One advantage of OWL ontologies will be the
availability of tools that can reason about them."
Can you make it more focused, e.g., "will be the availability of reasoning"
or "is the availability of reasoning" ?

> 2.6. . tagging, folksonomies

"Tagging as" -> "has"

Uldis: the ability to use URIs to uniquely identify resources is something
that we should mention more in the FAQ.
After "instead of tagging data items with strings, they can be related to
other resources" add "which can be uniquely identified".

> 3.1. Does the Semantic Web require me to manually markup all the existing
web-pages, or to convert all the data in relational databases into RDF?

Start new paragraph before "The challenge is to ..." in the 1st paragraph.

In the list of automatic procedures exporting RDF, starting with "Instead,
automatic procedures, " add "exported from weblogs and social software

> 3.2. Does the Semantic Web require me to put all my data into the public
domain? What about my sensitive data?

Add "encryption, " after "the current infrastructure of firewalls, ".

> 3.4. Are the SW tools as robust and as ubiquitous as, say, the xerces XML

Remove "(if we refer to the year 2004 when the core technologies became
really stable)".

> 3.7. How can I learn more about the Semantic Web?

Start a new paragraph at "The Semantic Web Best Practices and Deployment
Working Group <http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/BestPractices>  has produced ..."

> 3.9. Is there a community of developers I can join?

We may add a list of domain-specific communities in a new paragraph or
bullet list.
Often it is through grass-roots communities like DOAP, FOAF and SIOC that
people get introduced to the Semantic Web.

 - DOAP - a project to describe information about open-source software
projects [ on the Semantic Web / in a machine readable form / ...]
 - FOAF - a project to describe information about people and their social
relations [ on the Semantic Web / in a machine readable form / ...]
 - SIOC  - a project to describe information about online community sites
(blogs, bulletin boards, ...) [ on the Semantic Web / in a machine readable
form / ...] and use this information to connect these sites together.

Also expand these acronyms (e.g., using "title" attribute of hyperlinks).
Link to the project site or to the mailing list where developer discussions
are taking place.


We may also point to some tools that produce or consume DOAP, FOAF and SIOC.
That will already be a different question than 3.9.

Maybe there is a place for a whole section of questions answering in some
more detail what are these and other data formats, what produces them, how
can you use them, etc...
Same about SKOS, Dublin Core, ...


> 4.1. What is RDF?

"is a standard model for data interchange on the Web." -> "for describing
data on the Web".
"data interchange" can make on think "wait, isn't that what's XML for?"

> 4.3. Where is the "Web" in the Semantic Web?

"URI-s are used to to name resources in RDF triples" -> "URI-s are used to
name and uniquely identify resources in RDF triples"

> 4.5. Why not use SQL and/or XQuery to query RDF data? Why develop yet
another query language?

"If query was done via, for example, by XQuery," - delete "by".

> 4.4. How can I query RDF data?

"directed graph <http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/SW-FAQ#whrdf> " links to 4.1.,
but that section has only mentions word "graph" in the last sentence.

Uldis: to write more about the graph structure (in the followup mail). The
graph nature of RDF is something that makes it fundamentaly very simple and

> 4.8. Must I use ontologies for Semantic Web Applications?

The link "The answer on the role of ontologies and/or rules
<http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/SW-FAQ#whmustont>  includes a very simple
ontology example." references the very same question - 4.8.
(Talk about the snake swallowing its own tail! :)

What is the "simple ontology example" referenced here and what is the
correct URI that this should link to?

> 4.13. Is there an uptake in public datasets for the Semantic Web? Are
there major data published for the Semantic Web already?

"triplets" -> "triples".


Another question for the FAQ is "Where can I find papers / publications
about the Semantic Web?"


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Received on Monday, 16 April 2007 01:23:34 UTC

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