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RE: XML Europe 2003 Call for Participation

From: Danny Ayers <danny666@virgilio.it>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 22:58:10 +0200
To: "Sampo Syreeni" <decoy@iki.fi>, "Edd Dumbill" <edd@usefulinc.com>
Cc: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-ID: <EBEPLGMHCDOJJJPCFHEFMECCIDAA.danny666@virgilio.it>

>>While topic map technology has always had an excellent showing at this
>>conference, representation from the RDF world has always been thin.
>>I'd love to see more proposals from the RDF world for XML Europe 2003,
>>so here's your chance.
>Fully agreed, flavored by a little curiosity. Whereas RDF represents a
>fairly streamlined datamodel, constituting representational elegance, and
>a strong push toward interoperable ontologies, I would see topic maps as
>having a complex set of concepts aimed at little more than what vanilla
>XML can do. That is, topic maps do not incorporate strong semantics,
>whereas the RDF community embraces a strong push towards making its
>semantics unambiguous. To me this suggests that topic maps are little more
>than an extra transfer syntax, while things built on RDF (another transfer
>syntax/data model) hold a much broader promise.

I've only recently starting having a proper look at TMs, but from what I've
seen so far I have to disagree - most of the plusses you give RDF do also
apply to TMs. Their area of application is a little to the side of RDF, and
in terms of versatility I think it's reasonable to say RDF has the upper
hand. But I really don't think 'vanilla XML' is a fair description at all -
for example their approach to 'URI as concept' vs 'URI as page' actually
seems a lot better defined than that of RDF. I would suggest that TMs
probably have a great deal to offer the Semantic Web, and interoperation
with RDF isn't a difficult problem because of the commonality of URIs
(amongst other things).

>Against this background, it's peculiar at the very least that topic maps
>would be the technology to prevail in XML Europe. In XML Finland, it
>seemed that Semantic Web rather took the show. If TM really has been the
>king of XML-E, it's high time the tide turned.

A (somewhat cynical) explanation would be that although TMs offer less than
RDF, they've already delivered. Whatever, I don't think anyone has to make
an exclusive choice between RDF and TMs, and diversity where there is
interoperability can only be a good thing for the SW. So the turn of the
tide is only really an issue for King Cnut.

Having said all that - I'm right with Edd, let's see some more RDF at these
places ;-)

Received on Thursday, 24 October 2002 17:09:14 UTC

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