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Re: Comments to Semantic Web FAQ [1/2]

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 09:59:42 -0400
To: Uldis Bojars <uldis.bojars@deri.org>
Cc: public-sweo-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <20070416140009.58A664EEC7@homer.w3.org>

> 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".

Nice work.   Two nits....

> > 4.1. What is RDF?
> "is a standard model for data interchange on the Web." 

that's correct

> -> "for describing
> data on the Web".
> "data interchange" 

I disagree.   RDF is for exchanging data, not just metadata.

That should probably be a FAQ.   (I thought there was at least something
about it on the mythbusting page, but I can't find it now.)   

> > 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"

While I think the term "uniquely identify" is technically correct, it's
a bit of a problem because it suggests to some people that each resource
has only one name (a unique identifier), which is not the case.

Meanwhile, while looking at this part of the FAQ, I have some comments
not related to Uldis Bojars's comments:

  - change "URI-s" to "URIs".  The plural of an abbreviation in English
    is formed by adding an "s", or possibly separated from the
    abbreviation by an apostrophe.  The apostrophe is usually used when
    just adding an "s" makes things too confusing, but even then it's
    often frowned on.

  - Actually, I'm learning the correct term is "IRIs", not "URIs".
    Ivan, Susie, maybe this should be a SWEO meeting agenda item, and
    you can invite people from the Working Groups (like DAWG and RIF)
    currently trying to deal with this naming problem.  

  - in 4.2 Isn't RDF simply an XML application?

    Change "ASCII" to "text".  RDF/XML is not an ASCII format.  I don't
    think the others are either.

  - in 4.3 Where is the "Web" in Semantic Web?

    This text is the usual answer, but it's seriously incomplete because
    it omits the linked-data aspect of URIs.  For instance, by this
    answer, Tag URIs would be just as good as HTTP URIs.

    Here's a rewrite in that direction.  Maybe it goes too far, but
    hopefully it makes my point clear:

       The Semantic Web standards follow the design principles of the
       Web [1] in order to allow the growth of a planet-wide collection
       of semantically-rich data.  The key element of this design is the
       use of Web addresses (URIs) to name things.  Because the meaning
       of a term in a language without central control becomes
       established by its consistent use to achieve the same effect, and
       URIs are used around the world to access web pages (with each URI
       achieving more or less a consistent effect on the web), we use
       the Web to establish globally-shared meaning for URIs in the
       Semantic Web.  (This is what people mean when they say RDF URIs
       are "grounded" in the Web.)

       As with the Web in general, this approach allows the Semantic Web
       to grow and evolve without any central control or authority, but
       while still maintaining as much consistency and authorial control
       as needed for particular applications or particular enterprises.
       The techniques for doing all this are still evolving, but ideally
       whenener anyone sees a Semantic Web URI they can use it in their
       browser and see authoritative documentation about its use.
       Moreover, whenever some software encounters a URI in a Semantic
       Web context, it can dereference it and find an ontology which
       precisely specifies how the term is related to other terms.  The
       software may thus learn and exploit new terms which are
       synonymous with terms it already knows, or related in more
       complex and useful (but logically precise) ways.

       All this results in the ability to find and correctly merge
       data from multiple sources, sometimes even when they are
       provided with different ontologies.

       "In the Semantic Web, it is not the Semantic which is new, it is
       the Web which is new" Chris Welty, IBM

       [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/webarch/

That's it for now!

     -- Sandro


Received on Monday, 16 April 2007 14:00:28 UTC

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