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Nodes and Arcs 1989-1999: the WWW Proposal and RDF

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 19:38:24 -0500 (EST)
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org
cc: jan.grant@bristol.ac.uk
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.9911131905480.18798-100000@tux.w3.org>


RDF IG,

A few things that might be of interest.


This is an early draft of a document I started that attempts to relate
current technology (RDF/XML) to the ideas sketched 10 years ago for the
WWW. 

	http://www.w3.org/1999/11/11-WWWProposal/
	Information Management: Then and Now
	1999-11-13 danbri@w3.org (draft)
	
	Excerpt:
        The original proposal of the WWW from 1989 included a figure
	showing how information about a Web of relationships amongst
	named objects could unify a number of information management
	tasks. 

        This document describes a re-expression of this figure using
	W3C's Resource Description Framework datamodel in XML syntax. 

        The original figure, included here as a GIF image, depicts a Web
	of objects, including people,
        organizations, technologies, documents and topics. Typed links
	(such as 'wrote', 'unifies', 'includes' are used to represent 
	knowledge about their interelationships). 
	[...]


Note that this paper, and the accompanying demo, are best read after
(re-)visiting the orginal WWW proposal document, available from
http://www.w3.org/History/1989/proposal.html -- in fact this is worth a
read whether or not you get round to reading mine. RDF folk who've not
seen it might be suprised... Details:

	http://www.w3.org/History/1989/proposal.html
	Information Management: A Proposal 

	Tim Berners-Lee, CERN 
	March 1989, May 1990 

	This proposal concerns the management of general information about
	accelerators and experiments at CERN. It discusses the problems of
	loss of information about complex evolving systems and derives a
	solution based on a distributed hypertext system. 


The 1989 WWW proposal is interesting to look at from an RDF (and
historical) perspective, since it begins with a 'nodes and arcs' diagram
that looks almost like it might've been taken from an RDF spec.


So... I thought it might be fun recasting the CERN-based example in terms
of the RDF model. This wasn't too hard to do as a first pass; there are
several approaches that might've been taken. I opted for the simplest:


	http://www.w3.org/1999/11/11-WWWProposal/proposal.rdf
	(an annotated XML/RDF file representing the CERN diagram from 1989)


Finally, the document links to a little interactive RDF Query demo based
on a version of Jan Grant's Javascript prolog engine[1]. There are known
problems on some platforms/browsers, but when it works is quite nice. You
can query the RDF model in a fairly flexible manner to ask questions about
documents, technologies etc described in the CERN figure. When it doesn't
work, the fault most likely lies in my code rather than Jan's: I learned
Javascript by gluing together this demo around Jan's system. Feedback on
bugs/glitches etc concerning the software demo [2] are probably best kept
offlist, since we know for sure that there are a few problems. Basically,
credits go to Jan, complaints to me!


Anyway, I thought the CERN stuff made for both an interesting demo and
application scenario (ie. intranet knowledge management, in current
jargon) so am circulating these URLs in pre-final state.

Dan


[1] http://rdf.desire.org/~cmjg/test/prolog.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/1999/11/11-WWWProposal/rdfqdemo.html


--
danbri@w3.org
Received on Saturday, 13 November 1999 19:38:26 GMT

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