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Re: Relevant Technologies Document: Application Profiles

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 13:34:02 -0400
To: "Butler, Mark" <Mark_Butler@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Cc: www-rdf-dspace@w3.org
Message-ID: <20030623173402.GH6797@tux.w3.org>

Just to butt in.... :)

One reason 'application profile' emerged as a phrase that Dublin Core folks 
were using was the perceived problem that schema languages, DTDs, ontology 
languages and suchlike didn't provide a formal way of capturing deployment 
practices. Particularly at the RDFish end of the spectrum, which defines 
terminology rather than file formats, we found we didn't have a way to say 
(in a machine format) things like:

(fictional, but loosly based on what I remember from my brisbio work @ILRT)

 "In ILRT's Biomedical Image Archive we use Dublin Core title/description 
properties. Each title should begin with a capital letter, and end with a 
full stop. Titles are mandatory in the biomed database. Descriptions are 
optional, but should not exceed 1000 characters. The values of dc:subject 
are drawn from the MeSH classification system. We write dc:date in ISO8601
and use the date that the image was digitized."(etc etc).

In other words, there are many things about my application, and its 
structuring and organisation of data, which are not captured by the general
schema/vocabulary description for Dublin Core, MeSH, etc.

Syntax-oriented techniques, DTDs, XML Schema etc can go part of the way there,
since you can often write a syntactic schema which captures some 
broad-brush aspects of this. The XML Schematron work was imho the best in 
that vein, as it decouples data checking from vocabulary design and file 
format structure.

Anyway, people basically wanted to generalise about their use of RDF/XML 
vocabularies, and in particular the ways in which they could combine these 
to meet some application need, and were noting that this didn't seem to be 
what RDFS, OWL etc were designed to do.

I'm currently of the view that prose is under-rated here, and that a 
human-oriented narrative (perhaps + test cases, examples) is a better way to
document such practices than seeking a machine-friendly 'application profile'
language.

imho etc.,

Dan
Received on Monday, 23 June 2003 13:47:16 EDT

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