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Re: the meaning of RDF tokens

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 10:10:33 -0500
Message-ID: <3E50FB69.6010709@mitre.org>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
CC: www-rdf-comments@w3.org

Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:

> From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
> Subject: Re: the meaning of RDF tokens
> Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 14:08:22 -0500
>>Thanks for this comment.  I believe this is roughly the same point you
>>made in your review of the pre-last-call documents of 26 December 2002,
>>where you said
>>>The Primer starts the unfortunate blurring between RDF, a simple formalism,
>>>and the entirely of human understanding in its talk about knowing the
>>>``exactly what is meant by'' http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/creator.  It
>>>would be much better to avoid anything in the Primer that even hints that
>>>an  RDF processor will be able (or, worse, required) to understand exactly
>>>what is meant by such things, as their meaning includes a gigantic portion
>>>that is outside of RDF.
>>Can you confirm that?  
> Yes, basically.  
>>In my response to your original comment, I had
>>>When I referred to a program "that understands 
>>>http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/creator" I was thinking in terms of a 
>>>program *written* to understand that particular term (or written to 
>>>behave according to that term's definition when it encountered it) 
>>>rather than a generic RDF processor that somehow sucked in that 
>>>"understanding".  But I see how the problem you mention can arise.  I'll 
>>>try to make that clearer (I think it's still necessary to mention 
>>>"programs", but I agree that the limitations of what "understanding" RDF 
>>>provides to those programs needs to be clarified).
>>Do you believe that this sort of clarification will address the issue
>>you raise? 
> To some extent.  The problem is not only in the part of Section 2.2 that
> I mentioned, but is also sprinkled throughout the RDF documents.  The
> notion of social meaning as a normative part of RDF means that the entire
> RDF specification has to be extraordinarily careful about conflating formal
> and informal meaning.

I understand.  This also applies to the places that talk about "intended 
meaning" (which you've noted in other comments, and which I also intend 
to try to address).

>>I generally understand your concern as being to clearly
>>separate the meaning that RDF itself specifies from any additional
>>meaning that has to be read into such tokens by humans (and programs
>>they write based on that additional meaning).  Is that correct?  I'll
>>run the actual proposed rewrite by you if you like (as soon as I come up
>>with it).
> Agreed.  The issue is that there are several senses of ``meaning'', as the
> response by Pat pointed out.  Again, because the RDF documents elevate this extra
> (informal, social, ...) meaning to a normative part of the RDF
> specification, all the RDF documents have to be extraordinarily careful to
> maintain a clear separation between the various senses of ``meaning''.
>>In accordance with the change recording process we're using, I had
>>assigned your original comment a change id of #primerLCC-010.  If you
>>feel that this new comment is distinct from that one, could you please
>>clarify the difference (and I'll add an additional change)?  Thanks
> Only one last-call comment identifier is needed here, I think.  However, I
> do not see any in the last-call comment list at
> 	http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/RDFCore/20030123-issues

You won't see it there.  There are two sets of change identifiers.  The 
ones listed at the URL you've cited are issues that have been referred 
by the Editors of the relevant documents to the WG for decision.  In 
addition, each Editor is maintaining an internal set of change 
identifiers for those changes they have accepted (as I have this one) 
and are going to go ahead and fix.


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 Monday, 17 February 2003 09:51:04 UTC

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