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Re: Outstanding Issues - an RDF statement is an assertion

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 07:40:55 -0500
Message-ID: <3C739957.7030207@mitre.org>
To: Graham Klyne <GK-lists@ninebynine.org>
CC: Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, RDF Core <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>
Graham Klyne wrote:

> Putting it in the MT is a possibility, but it's not really a semantic 
> comment, as such, but a social comment ("RDF is intended to achieve 
> _this_").  Having formal semantics is (part of) how we achieve the goal 
> in question.


The Model Theory document already says:

(section 0.1) "This document describes a model theory for RDF(S) which 
treats the language as simple assertional language, in which each triple 
makes a distinct assertion and the meaning of any triple is not changed 
by adding other triples."

(section 1.3) "Asserting an RDF graph amounts to claiming that it is 
true, which is another way of saying that the world it describes is, in 
fact, so arranged as to be an interpretation which makes it true."

(section 1.4) "The use of the phrase "asserted triple" in the third 
condition is a deliberate weasel-worded artifact, intended to allow an 
RDF graph or document to contain triples which are being used for some 
non-assertional purpose. Strictly speaking this phrase is meaningless, 
since strict conformity to the RDF 1.0 specification [RDFMS] assumes 
that all triples in a document are asserted..."

If the above needs further elaboration to say what the director wants, 
it seems to me we could reasonably do the elaboration.  That, of course, 
doesn't preclude our saying the same thing elsewhere(s).


> 
> I see a big difference between the putative "master spec" and the 
> primer:  the master spec is normative;  the primer isn't.   (If I'm 
> wrong about that, I think the primer is mis-named.)
> 
> As for covering all the topics -- the goal isn't to 'cover' them, so 
> much as to say just enough about them to help a reader find the relevant 
> documents of the specification suite.  As much as possible of this 
> document would be of the form "for information about ... see ...".  
> (Though, if we had a master document, we might then find it expedient to 
> migrate some other parts into it, but that's another matter.)


"For information about" is fine;  but the outline suggests that the 
document is doing more than that (like explaining what the "abouts" 
are).  As far as being normative vs. non-normative, if the document is 
"guidance" or "explanation" rather than "specification", it's not clear 
why it needs to be normative (what is it defining "norms" about?).  It 
may well be that the Primer is mis-named, but that might be more due to 
the content than its status;  and I'm mainly commenting on the degree to 
which the contents may overlap.


> 
> Anyway, I'm not wedded to this idea, just trying to see if we can't 
> focus some debate on what's needed ... so thanks for your comments.
> 


I'd like to encourage you to produce a draft along the lines of what you 
have in mind (as I said, far be it from me to discourage anyone from 
writing something).  I think we've had a lot of discussion about what 
ought to be in the Primer (and in other documents) already, and it's 
pretty hard to have a very meaningful discussion without having some 
text in hand to actually look at.

--Frank


> 
> At 04:38 PM 2/19/02 -0500, Frank Manola wrote:
> 
>> I think the fact that a statement is an assertion should certainly be
>> covered in the Model Theory somewhere shouldn't it?  That's our basic
>> "semantics" document.  If it isn't clear enough right now, maybe we can
>> make it clearer (?)  The Master Specification sounds to me like the
>> Primer, but (a) covering more than is currently there and (b) in less
>> text.  I guess I don't understand the intended distinction here (not to
>> mention how you're going to cover all those topics in 3-4 pages).
>> However, far be it from me to discourage anyone from writing something!
>>
>> --Frank
>>
>>
>> Graham Klyne wrote:
>> >
>> > At 05:05 PM 2/12/02 +0000, Brian McBride wrote:
>> > >>>rdfms-assertion: RDF is not just a data model; an RDF statement 
>> is an
>> > >>>assertion.
>> > >>>
>> > >>>The director has an architectural requirement that we say something
>> > >>>about this.  We need someone to draft some appropriate words.  
>> Any volunteers?
>> > >>
>> > >>I think the statement should be kept simple.  I offered some words a
>> > >>while back:
>> > >>
>> > >>http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-rdfcore-wg/2001Nov/0560.html
>> > >>
>> > >>[[[
>> > >>RDF is intended to convey assertions that are meaningful to the 
>> extent that
>> > >>they may, in appropriate contexts, be used to express the terms of 
>> binding
>> > >>agreements.
>> > >>]]]
>> > >
>> > >That sounds like a volunteer.  Thanks Graham.  Could you identify 
>> the best
>> > >place to put this text, and bring a proposal to the WG to resolve the
>> > >issue please?
>> >
>> > I've been thinking about this, and I'm not sure which document it 
>> belongs
>> > in.  Or, more to the point, I think we may be missing a document in our
>> > expected set of deliverables.
>> >
>> > We have:
>> >
>> >    RDF syntax
>> >    RDF model theory
>> >    RDF schema
>> >    RDF test cases
>> >    RDF primer
>> >
>> > But, as far as I'm aware, there's no master document to pull them 
>> all together.
>> >
>> > If there were, that's where I'd suggest putting the above words -- in a
>> > prominent section all on their own, headed something like "Using RDF to
>> > express firm agreements".
>> >
>> > ...
>> >
>> > Let's suppose we agree that some kind of master document would be Good
>> > Thing.  What would it look like?  I think it would be a short document
>> > (maybe as little as 3-4 pages), something like this:
>> >
>> >    RDF Master Specification
>> >
>> >    1. Introduction
>> >       What is RDF?
>> >       Overview of RDF design goals
>> >         [[[include above words about assertions here]]]
>> >
>> >    2. Overview of RDF
>> >       RDF graph model
>> >       RDF vocabulary (use of URI-references and XML namespaces)
>> >
>> >    3. Elements of RDF specification
>> >       XML syntax
>> >       schema
>> >       formal semantics/model theory
>> >       RDF test cases
>> >       (each of these would contain a short description and a
>> >        citation of the corresponding specification document.)
>> >
>> >    4. References
>> >       Normative - citing other RDF specification documents only?
>> >       Others - background info
>> >
>> > It might also be appropriate to move the glossary from the primer to an
>> > appendix of this document.
>> >
>> > ...
>> >
>> > Another deliverable document may not be a Good Idea right now, but 
>> since
>> > you asked that's my first proposal.  Otherwise, I think we might (a)
>> > include the assertion words in all of the RDF specification 
>> documents (not
>> > nice), or (b) arbitrarily pick one of the specification documents as 
>> the
>> > "lead" document and put the assertion words in its introductory 
>> sections.
>> >
>> > #g
>> >
>> > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > Graham Klyne                    Baltimore Technologies
>> > Strategic Research              Content Security Group
>> > <Graham.Klyne@Baltimore.com>    <http://www.mimesweeper.com>
>> >                                  <http://www.baltimore.com>
>> > ------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> -- 
>> Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
>> 202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
>> mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-8752
> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Graham Klyne                    Baltimore Technologies
> Strategic Research              Content Security Group
> <Graham.Klyne@Baltimore.com>    <http://www.mimesweeper.com>
>                                 <http://www.baltimore.com>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> 


-- 
Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-875
Received on Wednesday, 20 February 2002 07:35:47 EST

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