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[namespaceDocument-8] Proposal: "Namespace Document" = RDF

From: Patrick Stickler <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 12:13:15 +0200
To: Patrick Stickler <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>, ext Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>, WWW TAG <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B896A05B.ED17%patrick.stickler@nokia.com>

In Tim Bray's recent discussion of the namespace issue in

>> http://www.textuality.com/tag/Issue8.html

Tim defines a "namespace document" as whatever one might retrieve
from an HTTP GET on an 'http:' URL, if such is used as the
namespace URI, and suggests that the namespace
document would be a RDDL instance (presumably XML).

I would like to propose an alternative interim treatment which is
similar in nature to the RDDL approach, and in fact would adopt
the RDDL vocabulary in its realization, but which would be more
forward-looking towards a time whtn such knowledge would not be
tied to HTTP for retrieval and not expressed only in XML, but would
be accessible by more generalized, transparent means and have an RDF

Let us redefine a "namespace document" to be an RDF instance
(using the RDDL vocabulary, and perhaps other vocabularies as well)
which provides knowledge *relevant to* the use of the namespace
but not merly about the namespace itself, alone.

This RDF instance would provide knowledge about any and all
resources which the owner of the namespace felt may be relevant
and useful to anyone using any architectural component related
to that namespace.

Thus, it would describe vocabularies, document models, schemas,
software components, style sheets, discriptive prose, etc. each
of which would have URIs distinct from that of the namespace.

The URIs denoting these resources need not be http: URLs, nor
even URLS or URNs, but can be any class of URI whatsoever.

And the descriptions about each resource would be specfic to that
resource, not the namespace, which has no real properties apart
from punctuation and providing a point of intersection for the
trully interesting resources described in such an RDF namespace

Later, in the future, when such RDF knowledge can be retrieved by
means other than from namespace documents and HTTP, such as via global,
distributed knowledge registries, and thus not bound to the use of http:
URLs, the need for such "namespace documents" would dissappear, and
also all benefit of using http: URLs as namespace URIs -- yet
applications would already be used to working with such generalized
knowledge and how it is obtained would remain a triviality.

Furthermore, such an approach permits applications to maintain
local knowledge bases about known resources, possibly also caching
web retrieved knowledge for offline use, or augment that with any
number of dedicated registries, providing a more flexible,
scalable knowledge based solution -- hampered only temporarily by
transparent, global web-accessibility of such knowledge, yet
architecturally sound both now and in the the future when such
accessibility issues are resolved.

Owners of namespaces not based on http: URLs can still author and
publish RDF namespace documents -- for installation locally to any
system using architectural components grounded in that namespace,
and for future propagaion into global registries.

Such an interim solution would meet the immediate needs of specialised,
constrained HTTP based solutions while facilitiating and encouraging
work towards a more generalized, long term solution.




Patrick Stickler              Phone: +358 50 483 9453
Senior Research Scientist     Fax:   +358 7180 35409
Nokia Research Center         Email: patrick.stickler@nokia.com
Received on Monday, 18 February 2002 05:11:58 UTC

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