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Re: deliverables?

From: Murray Altheim <altheim@eng.sun.com>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2001 03:57:35 -0700
Message-ID: <3AEE969F.BF1850A0@eng.sun.com>
To: Danny Ayers <danny@panlanka.net>
CC: RDF-Interest <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>, Murray.Altheim@eng.sun.com
Danny Ayers wrote:
> 
> I just came across a post from Murray Altheim on the XTM list
> (xtm-wg@yahoogroups.com) which strikes me as raising rather a good issue. I
> hope he will forgive me for quoting him completely out of context -
> 
> "...might anyone actually *define* the "Semantic Web", and I don't mean
> some rather vague notion
> of adding "knowledge on the web." What real problem(s) are you actually
> trying to solve? What possible software do you plan to implement, or
> could even conceive of implementing?  I don't know how anyone could
> define a set of deliverables very well given the rather ambiguous or
> nonexistent requirements. All I've seen so far are vague notions of
> metadata and ontologies, technologies that already exist."
> 
> I've a feeling the tone of this was rather set by preceding mails (Murray?),
> but there's no denying the point that there's a lot of vagueness around. A
> semantic cloud even.

Well, being quoted out of context is considered by some to be rude
by definition, but since you've already done this and I don't really
mind, and since the straw survey is right in line with the kinds of
questions we all need to be asking, fire away.

It's not that the idea of a Semantic Web isn't interesting. There are
all sorts of interesting ideas floating around the aether, but we
should acknowledge that these are ideas that have been floating around
for a Very Long Time, and likewise note that there are extant 
communities that have been arguing about this for at least 2500 years.
I find discussions of these same issues in the Chuang Tzu and the Kena
Upanishad, among others.

I'm glad to see we have a few people with real backgrounds in this, 
like some of the formal semioticians and ontologists who've made it 
their life's purpose to study this stuff, as I have little faith in
our (by "our" I mean those of us in the computer industry) ability to 
not muck this one up, we nouveau experts on the subject du jour.

This is all very interesting to me as well (heck, it's what I've been
doing for about two years now), so fleshing out what this ambiguous
term means can only bring some necessary conclusions. I don't think
shuffling along without some idea of real goals is the way to 
approach this, as this has led to some real mistakes in the past.

Murray

...........................................................................
Murray Altheim                            <mailto:altheim&#x40;eng.sun.com>
XML Technology Center
Sun Microsystems, Inc., MS MPK17-102, 1601 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025

      In the evening
      The rice leaves in the garden
      Rustle in the autumn wind
      That blows through my reed hut.  -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu
Received on Tuesday, 1 May 2001 13:56:57 GMT

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