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Semantic Document Framework(s)

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean@mysterylights.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 09:58:03 -0000
Message-ID: <000b01c047d8$61c6cb20$bddb93c3@z5n9x1>
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Cc: "Dan Brickley" <danbri@w3.org>, "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org>, "Aaron Swartz" <aswartz@swartzfam.com>, <www-talk@w3.org>
Hi Everyone,
The current outline of a Semantic Web (and RDF/Schemas etc.) is all well and
good [if a little fuzzy], but at the end of the day we will still need a
Semantic output format for the SW, i.e a document format that is
semantically compatable and more to the point, works well, with XSLT and RDF

The goals should be:
1. Produce a fully Semantic document medium, [probably based on current XML
related UI technologies, that can be easily converted using XSLT into RDF].
2. Produce a framework for extending and subsetting this medium, so that it
may be fully machine processable, as well as being a human readable output.
3. Make the framework technology independent, so that when RDF/XML etc. are
past their sell by dates, the method still remains.

It could be *loosely* based on XHTML tags (c.f.
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2000Mar/0103.html -
Semantic HTML), but utilizing more semantic elements, and using RDF and
Schemas: in other words, a Semantic Document Framework - SDF (not to be
confused with RDF!).
It cannot be a MarkUp language per se., and there isn't going to be a
specification, it's more of a lingua franca. However, it must be heavily
semantic, and well described using RDF (DC?) etc.

For example, we could start with an XML DTD framework:-
Common attrs.

Where the "HTML" tags are used for backwards-compatibility, and then have a
semantic filling (described by [XML] Schemas): RDF, <phrasing
type="..."></phrasing> etc. BTW: They aren't really going to be HTML tags,
becuase they will have a different Namespace!
I hope people follow what I am saying here: a semantic output medium, but
based on HTML tags so that it works in current WWW browsers, as well as
whatever upcoming SW browsers there are. Put more technically, but
innaccurately: for document structure use XML DTDs; for semantic filling and
content use Schemas and RDF.
All of this is to maintain the transition from WWW to SW, and into RDF; but
it's also to allow RDF to survive...after all, the Semantic Web must
*eventually* be interfaced.

This will hopefully mean that people writing documents worry about what
their document means (semantics) rather than what it looks like

This Semantic XHTML idea isn't new:
I believe that one of the best ways to transition into RDF,
if not a long-term deployment strategy for RDF, is to manage the
information in human-consumable form (XHTML) annotated with just
enough info to extract the RDF statements that the human info
is intended to convey. In other words: using a relational
database or some sort of native RDF data store, and spitting
out HTML dynamically, is a lot of infrastructure to operate
and probably not worth it for lots of interesting cases.

We all know that we have to produce a human-readable version
of the thing... why not use that as the primary source?
]]] - Dan Connolly,

O.K., this does take these ideas on quite a few steps further, but nothing
at all like this has really been developed yet. I guess what I'm trying to
say is "let's stop using class=[...] for RDF, and get this show on the
[SDF Tech. Note]: As for Namespaces, can we just use them to say "this is in
this language", and use xsi:SchemaLocation & DTDs for validation - (Is that
gonna work? Can you mix Schemas and DTDs in that way?).

P.S. I have a long way to go to understanding the Semantic Web, so I would
appreciate as much constructive criticism/errata as possible! Of course,
the bottom line is that the SW/RDF *has* to be made for accessible to the

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
The Semantic Web: A Resource - http://xhtml.waptechinfo.com/swr/
WAP Tech Info - http://www.waptechinfo.com/
Mysterylights.com - http://www.mysterylights.com/
"The Internet; is that thing still around?" - Homer J. Simpson
Received on Monday, 6 November 2000 05:00:17 GMT

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