W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > April 2001


From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 22:43:38 -0700
To: "RDF Interest" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Murray Altheim wrote:
"The difficulty with external links is first of all management. If you have
1000 documents you'd have 1000 metadata files. It's a lot simpler to add
the markup into the document, a lot easier to be sure you've got the right
metadata, and spiders can obtain the data directly. I also think it'll be
a lot easier for authors and braindead tools. Documents will also remain
rather portable.

"The argument on bandwidth seems a bit unwarranted. The amount of metadata
is usually pretty small, much smaller than the smallest GIF image on a
web page. For example, your message in my mailbox took up 1221 characters,
which would probably be three or four times (at least) the size of the
metadata in a typical XHTML document (a Dublin Core record is not very
big). Most GIFs are at least ten times that size."

I reply:

First, I did not say that embedding RDF was a bad idea. I want to eat my
cake and have it too. But I don't think that we should rule out the linked
metadata idea. For one thing, I think it will probably be easier to
implement. Second, as Seth has pointed out, it might be more flexible.
Third, despite what Murray suggests, every byte counts. I have spent time
trying to trim an additional 200 or 300 bytes off a GIF. I generally use the
thumb rule 1K = 1 second, and every second counts. Metadata with an abstract
or summary might easily run to 2K or more.

Additionally, I use a database to serve most of my sites. I also have an
application that allows my clients to update their own pages without knowing
any code. When they update the page, it prompts them for the metadata. The
metadata is currently served with the page, but I could just as easily make
it available otherwise. I could also rewrite the scripts to serve the
metadata in the page, as a linked page, or visibly in the page, depending on
user preference or browser type. It's all very flexible and easy to do.

Finally, I don't care much about Dublin Core. Oh, I use it, but I envision
much more detailed metadata used with all sorts of data and/or services. DC
is useful only for certain types of documents. For others, it might turn out
that the metadata is larger than some of the data with which it is

So I still think the linked metadata is a good idea and a good first move.
But yes, I want to be able to embed it, too, and to still have valid

Charles Munat,
Seattle, Washington
Received on Tuesday, 17 April 2001 01:45:48 UTC

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