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Re: [vcard] multiple names, multiple address lines

From: Garret Wilson <garret@globalmentor.com>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2007 08:20:24 -0700
Message-ID: <46111F38.1090005@globalmentor.com>
To: David Powell <djpowell@djpowell.net>
CC: semantic-web@w3.org

David,

David Powell wrote:
> I don't like values flipping from using a list syntax to a single value
> syntax depending on how many items there are.  I guess that this
> leaves something like:
>
>     <v:N>
>       <v:givenName rdf:parseType="Seq">
>         <rdf:li>Peaches</rdf:li>
>         <rdf:li>Honeyblossom</rdf:li>
>         ...
>       </v:givenName>
>       <v:familyName rdf:parseType="Seq">
>         <rdf:li>Geldof</rdf:li>
>       </v:familyName>
>     </v:N>
>
> Always using a list structure for these values. A bit verbose, bit
> that's not such a huge problem is it?
>   

First, in my opinion rdf:Seq is antiquated, but we can talk about the 
same thing in terms of rdf:List.

Sure, "value-flipping" is untidy. But that's not a fault of our 
design---it's a fault of the design of RDF. We won't be able to get past 
it, and there are going to be many things, not just in vCard, but in 
many real-world ontologies. But we can't choose to put an rdf:List 
everywhere, because in many cases rdf:List is the exception, not the 
rule. So yes, I think having a list for all values is a huge problem. 
And while we may not like "value-flipping" from a tidiness or elegance 
point of view, I think it's the lesser of all these evils, giving us:

    <v:N>
      <v:givenName rdf:parseType="Collection">
        <rdf:Description rdf:value="Peaches"/>
        <rdf:Description rdf:value="Honeyblossom"/>
        ...
      </v:givenName>
      <v:familyName>Geldof</v:familyName>
    </v:N>

An inconsistent syntax and even an inconsistent data model 
representation, I know, but that's what we're stuck with. Damn you, RDF!

> vCard addresses aren't ideal, and are a bit US-centric.  If you
> wanted to search for people on a given street, then you are already
> going to have to hunt around in streetAddress to guess where the
> house number or name ends, and the street starts (or vice-versa in
> Europe) - and whether house names are on a separate line or not.
>   

Your point about the poorly defined semantics of multiple address line 
separation is well-taken, although it is important that the separation 
be preserved somehow.

So it seems that really the big sticking point here is the vcard:N 
subproperty issue. I would claim that the problem lies not in vCard nor 
in our proposals, but rather in the design of RDF which will be biting 
us all for years to come. I propose that "value-flipping" is the least 
inelegant of the inelegances, but I'll keep thinking about it.

Garret
Received on Monday, 2 April 2007 15:21:01 GMT

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