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Re: Instant RDF

From: Aaron Swartz <aswartz@swartzfam.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 09:43:47 -0500
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
CC: <seth@robustai.net>
Message-ID: <B5CBF053.178AD%aswartz@swartzfam.com>
Jonathan Borden <jonathan@openhealth.org> wrote:

> Yes it does lead to alot of XSLT. And we need to make a clear distinction
> between
> a) "any old random XML" being automatically RDF

I believe this is what Sergey is doing:

http://www-db.stanford.edu/~melnik/rdf/fusion.html

> b) making it really easy to generate RDF from "any old random RDF"

I assume you mean any old random XML. Which is what I'd like to do.

> personally I prefer:
> c) making it really easy to "RDF tag" appropriate XML documents without
> mandating too much about the structure of such documents (i.e let's assume
> the document designers are otherwise intelligent).

Seth Russell has been working on something like this (I've CC-ed him so he
can comment) where he says that any XML document can be easily turned into
RDF by stating which elements are the nodes of the document, and assuming
the rest are arrows. The reason I'm not too fond of this is because it does
not work in every situation, and thus requires intelligence and forethought
on the part of the document designers. I'm making this proposal so that we
can use a legacy format (RSS), not designed to be used like that, also as an
RDF format.

> On the other hand if we wish to "RDF enable" general XML applications [...]
> then we ought carefully consider the extent that RDF ought mandate a
> particular document structure. If this is the case [...] then allowing RDF
> shorthands [...] may facilitate the adoption of RDF itself.
>
> As I see it, the role of XSLT would be to transform this RDF shorthand into
> "real" RDF (in which case we might only need several XSLTs).

I would argue that it would be much more advantageous to be able to RDF
enable an XML document _without modifying_ the document. Thus, you would be
able to take advantage of documents that were already written, without any
"hooks" for RDF support.

For example, the RSS format is clearly metadata, but the item being
described is contained in the value of the <link> element, not in an
rdf:about attribute. The proposal for an RDF-enabled version requires
duplication of this value in both places, but I see no reason why RDF
parsers can't be told to to comprehend the older format.

-- 
        Aaron Swartz         |"This information is top security.
<http://swartzfam.com/aaron/>|     When you have read it, destroy yourself."
  <http://www.theinfo.org/>  |             - Marshall McLuhan            
Received on Friday, 25 August 2000 10:44:05 GMT

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