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Semantic Web discussions lists: rdf-logic, rdf ig, www-talk, ...

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2000 08:24:36 -0500 (EST)
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0011050732340.23226-100000@tux.w3.org>



A few notes on the 'multiple mailing lists' confusion.

Earlier this year we created a list named 'semantic-web@w3.org', intended
initially for discussion of highly technical issues in the spirit of
various http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/ documents, particularly
http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Semantic.html

This list was never announced (although it became visible at lists.w3.org
and various folk noticed, joined and publicised it). Instead, we created 
www-rdf-logic@w3.org as we were concerned that the original list name
would be problematic. The immediate need was for a 'hi tech' list focussed
on logical foundations for resource description and identification, and
ideally one that could serve as a forum for groups such as DAML and OIL,
who were looking for somewhere to discuss these issues. The phrase
'Semantic Web' for many of us evokes something broader, the 'Future of the
Web'. It would be rather confusing to be discussing both these themes in
one place. Unfortunately, the fact that the existence of the mis-named
list became public has also caused some confusion. (Sorry about that!)


'Future of the Web' discussions have long had a home: the www-talk@w3.org
list. We have archives at http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/
going back to 1991.  I'll often be heard arguing[1] that the Semantic Web
is simply the realisation of the Web as originally proposed[2] ten years
ago. In this light I encourage anyone interested in Future of the Web
("Semantic Web" or whatever you prefer to call it) to spend some time
digging into Web history. Both the orginal proposal and the www-talk
archives are worth spending some time reading. If the Semantic Web is to
evolve from the Web as we know it, www-talk is a fine place to discuss
that evolution in broad terms. 

I for one am wary of fragmenting the discussion space with yet another
list. Every time a new list is created, we need to think about how it
interacts with the remit of existing lists. We already have a list for the
logic/KR/trust technical aspect of SW (www-rdf-logic). We have a list that
has historically served for 'future of the web' discussions (www-talk), and we
have our current www-rdf-interest list, which has sat somewhere in
between.

Dipping into the www-talk archives, you can find (suprise suprise :) Dan
Connolly discussing typed links and hypertext theory
(http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/1992MayJun/0049.html), TimBL
talking about search, interfaces with calendar systems and arguing for
consistency of architecture
(http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/1992NovDec/0134.html). In
Nov 1992 you'll find Marc Andreessen announcing an experimental
annotation server at NCSA
(http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/1992NovDec/0090.html). Somewhere
in there you'll find the origins of the IMG tag in HTML
discussed. Certain Semantic Web discussions should fall very naturally in
this tradition.

Although semantic-web is a great name for a mailing list, we need to keep
Semantic Web discussions grounded in a sense of history and evolving Web
architecture. I'm not sure that the world needs another active mailing
list right now. My preference would be for us to use the existing three
lists (rdf interest, rdf logic, www talk) for now, while working to make
the main RDF list more application oriented, eg. by moving detailed
discussion of the RDF specs and open issues to a sub-list.

If the semantic-web@w3.org list is to become an active forum, we need to
have a good story as to where someone should post a given message. It's
hard enough already with the three existing active lists. The current RDF
IG charter[3] suggests that this current list is a fine place to discuss a
range of issues that go beyond bugs in the Model and Syntax
specification. Looking back over the archives of the last year, I think
we've been doing this... I'm not against the idea of a distinct SW list,
just feel it would need some careful scoping to avoid creating further
confusion.

imho etc.,

Dan



[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2000Sep/0235.html
    http://www.w3.org/1999/11/11-WWWProposal/thenandnow
[2] http://www.w3.org/History/1989/proposal.html
[3] http://www.w3.org/RDF/IGcharter
Received on Sunday, 5 November 2000 08:24:36 GMT

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