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Re: Can RDF say anything about anything?

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 14:38:07 -0500
Message-ID: <3E4BF41F.F07A624B@mitre.org>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
CC: www-rdf-comments@w3.org

Peter--

Thanks for this comment.  Regarding the situation you bring up, the
Primer at that point says:

> These examples also illustrate one of the basic architectural principles 
> of the Web, which is that anyone should be able say anything they want
> about existing resources [BERNERS-LEE98]. 

[BTW:  If nothing else, you've enabled me to spot a missing "to" in the
sentence.  Thanks!]

Specifically, the examples illustrate an independent party commenting on
a description produced by someone else.  That (roughly) "anyone should
be able to say anything about anything" is being cited as an
architectural principle of the Web illustrated by the examples, not as a
capability of RDF (and certainly not without exceptions).  I frankly
find it hard to see anyone reading this, and being led to believe that
they can then make RDF statements that violate RDF/XML (e.g., using
rdf:ID as a predicate was one of the examples that came up in your
interaction with Brian).  Of course, being able to "say anything about
anything" provides the ability to state lies and nonsense (e.g., you
could say rdf:ID rdf:type ex:MooCow), but we can't really prevent that. 
Do you see a particular clarification that would help, such as a caveat
here that there are technical limits to RDF's ability to express things?

--Frank


"Peter F. Patel-Schneider" wrote:
> 
> Can RDF say anything about anything?
> 
> The RDF documents are contradictory on this point.  The Primer indicates
> that RDF can be used to let anyone ``say anything they want about existing
> resources'' with no exception for the resources used by RDF.  Concepts says
> that ``RDF is an open-world framework that allows anyone to make simple
> assertions about anything''.  However, Concepts also says that ``Certain
> URIs are reserved for use by RDF, and may not be used for any purpose not
> sanctioned the RDF specifications.''
> 
> What is the situation here?

-- 
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
Received on Thursday, 13 February 2003 14:38:19 GMT

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