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Re: Provenance as a first-class citizen

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 15:56:09 -0500
To: ben syverson <w3@likn.org>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org
Message-Id: <20060317205612.88E684F210@homer.w3.org>


Ben Syverson wrote:
> On Mar 17, 2006, at 11:04 AM, Garrett Wollman wrote:
> > I'm certain that this has been said before by people better-informed
> > than I, but the more I look at RDF the more certain I am that basing
> > it on triples rather than 4-tuples was a serious mistake.
> 
> I agree 1000%. Using triples means that by default statements are  
> trusted and not reified. It suggests a top-down approach, rather than  
> a bottom-up one. This is one reason that tags/keywords are more  
> appealing to people than the SW.

I disagree.

RDF is based on triples because triples are an excellent single building
block for making arbitrary statements.

For making statements about statements -- which you're talking about --
you need something more complex, like quads or reification, but that's
relatively rare (even if it's very interesting).

Publishing statements as triples makes sense.  Whatever you want your
web page to say, just put those statements on the page.  You shouldn't
have to put on the page a statement that those statements are on the
page and are true.  Say "The sky is blue", not "I am now telling you
that the sky is blue."

For reasoning about statements, yes, of course use quads.  When I
harvest RDF data, of course I keep track of what web pages said what.
But I don't usually need to re-publish that harvester data; that's like
my web browser publishing my browsing history along with the browser
cache.  There are applications where that's useful, sure, but it's
hardly the main way data moves around the web.

    -- sandro
Received on Friday, 17 March 2006 20:56:19 UTC

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