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Re: comment - RDFTM: Survey of Interoperability Proposals

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 10:26:08 -0500
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: bernard.vatant@mondeca.com, semantic-web@w3.org
Message-ID: <20050309152608.GB7730@homer.w3.org>

* Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com> [2005-03-09 09:52-0500]
> 
> [This response is about Topic Maps only.  It is thus somewhat irrelevant to
> the SWBP WG.  I have thus moved it to the general W3C semantic web mailing
> list.]
> 
> 
> From: "Bernard Vatant" <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
> Subject: RE: comment - RDFTM: Survey of Interoperability Proposals
> Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 03:07:35 +0100
> 
> > 
> > Peter
> > 
> > Even if I am not responsible for a single line in the survey, please let me answer to some
> > of your remarks.
> > 
> > > First, however, a disclaimer:  I am a long-time skeptic of the entire Topic
> > > Maps paradigm.  I have tried several times to determine whether there is
> > > something interesting in Topic Maps and each time I have been unsuccessful.
> > > My skepticism colors many of these comments.
> > 
> > I remember some exchange we had a while ago and I see your viewpoint is steady on that ...
> > Could you be a little more explicit on what you mean here by "something interesting",
> > which you define in a very negative way by the fact that you did not find it. I've hard
> > time understanding negative definitions, sorry :)) What is it exactly you were looking
> > for, and that you did not find? Is it that you did no find anything useful at all (for
> > you), or anything usable, or anything that cannot be expressed otherwise, and better? Do
> > you think that what Topic Maps try to achieve has no interest, or is it the way they take
> > to do it? Or what? If I say : "I have tried several times to determine whether there is
> > something interesting in football and each time I have been unsuccessful" that only means
> > my incapacity to find interest in football,  but it does not change the fact that a few
> > people find it interesting, which I fail to understand, but which is a reality. So maybe
> > if I was looking at what people are finding in football rather than to football itself, I
> > would understand the interest of football :))
> 
> Well, I have never found a formal semantic definition of Topic Maps, even
> looking at the ISO documents (which are, by the way, extraordinarily
> difficult to read).  I've found some stuff on syntax and some stuff on
> operations, but nothing definitional that I was able to use to generate a
> semantic view of Topic Maps, either model-theoretically or
> proof-theoretically.  Without this Topic Maps remains uninteresting to me,
> stuck in the same situation that Semantic Networks were in the very early
> 1970s.

And eerily reminiscent of RDF in the late 1990s for that matter...

Dan
Received on Wednesday, 9 March 2005 15:26:09 UTC

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