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Re: [topicmapmail] RDF and TopicMaps: an Exercise in Convergence

From: Murray Altheim <altheim@eng.sun.com>
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 11:11:58 -0700
Message-ID: <3B1BCF6E.9944CA23@eng.sun.com>
To: Lars Marius Garshol <larsga@garshol.priv.no>
CC: topicmapmail@infoloom.com, www-rdf-interest@w3.org
Lars Marius Garshol wrote:
> * Graham Moore
> |
> | I don't think this is the complete solution to the integration
> | issue.  However, I think that this paper could help focus some of
> | the discussions.
> I agree that the paper is valuable as a starting point for a
> discussion of the relationship between topic maps and RDF, and I also
> agree that it is not a complete solution to the problem.
> As I see it, RDF is a lower-level data model than that of topic maps,
> in that is more generic. Consequently, RDF leaves a number of
> distinctions to be made by the application that in topic maps are part
> of the model itself. This means that to map from RDF to topic maps one
> needs to provide extra information about how RDF constructs in a
> particular RDF application map to topic map constructs.

Having now been involved for a short time in the RDF Interest list, and
getting much more familiar with the specs, etc. it seems apparent to me
that what this discussion might benefit from is a reframing. As you say,
it makes little sense to map RDF to XTM. RDF is basically "graph theory 
in XML", a fairly low level construct. It's a level above XML but below
an application level.

What we ought to be talking about is a mapping from XTM to an RDF schema,
where there is the assignation of markup semantics to higher-level 
syntax constructs. I'm unclear why the debate for the past six months
has been about XTM-to-RDF, when we should be talking RDF schema. 
Perhaps some people have been assuming RDF schema, but not being
explicit about this has led to quite a lot of confusion.

And I'm still unclear what we'd accomplish by this. XTM syntax is 
very well suited to its designed task, IMO. This seems borne out by
the experience of those who've worked with it, from what I've seen
so far. This doesn't mean that RDF and RDF applications (ie., those
RDF markup languages described by RDF schema or a prose specification)
can't work very well in harmony with XTM. I've been working on just
such an application, and taking advantage of some the excellent 
development in the RDF space. But I don't put the technological cart
before the horse (as some seem to) and assume that I need a specific
technology before I figure out what problem I'm trying to solve. It
might pay to back up a bit and write a requirements document.

Murray Altheim, SGML/XML Grease Monkey     <mailto:altheim&#64;eng.sun.com>
XML Technology Center
Sun Microsystems, 1601 Willow Rd., MS UMPK17-102, Menlo Park, CA 94025

         america was once a paradise 
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Received on Monday, 4 June 2001 14:09:46 UTC

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