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WOWG: Concerns about "Formal Specification" Document raised on June 27 telecon

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.umd.edu>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 13:33:49 -0400
Message-Id: <p0511171fb940f4d77891@[]>
To: webont <www-webont-wg@w3.org>

Much of the discussion on the 27 June telecon (log not yet posted to 
webont, but available at [1] in raw form) concerned the "Formal 
Specification of the OWL Web Ontology Language" [2] Document.  It was 
felt that since none of the authors were present, a summary of the 
discussion should be posted to the mailing list.  As chair I took 
that action, and here it is - participants, please feel free to help 
me out if I miss something important:

The discussion generally concerned the releasability of the document 
in the current form - should it go out as a working draft as it is 
now, should it wait until the model theory is added in, is it more 
valuable as an internal document than an external one at this point, 
and is it needed at all as an external document. Concerns:

  - is the value of this paper to the WG or to the "outside public" -- 
since there is still a fair amount of churn w/respect to the 
layering/semantics issues, perhaps this document's major function is 
helping the WG in its preparation of a releasable document (likely 
the MT) rather than being released itself for public comment in the 
curent form.

  - the document is linked not only to the nascent MT [3] but to the 
non-normative XML presentation syntax, should this be merged into 
that document?

  - the mapping from this document to Mike Dean's and vice versa is 
not clear - and definitely should be included in one or both 
documents before they could both be released.

  Despite these concerns, it is important to mention that there were 
several strong voices in favor of releasing it at this point.  (In 
the absence of the authors it didn't seem fair to take a straw poll, 
but it did seem there were voices in each direction)

  Sentiment was strong, but not unanimous, that the material in this 
document is useful, particular in its function as an anchor for the 
model theory cf. [3].   It was less clear if the sentiment was in 
favor of releasing it at this point (and thus having to maintain it) 
rather than waiting until it really became the "formal specification" 
document.  (Chair's note: Remember that if we release a working draft 
we become responsible for answering each and every query addressed to 
the public list about it)

other points:
  1) There was a general feeling that the old title "Abstract Syntax 
Document" was actually better for the document at the current time - 
consensus appeared to be that if we do release it now it should be 
under that name.
  2) There was a feeling that if we do go to release, the introduction 
has to make the purpose of the document clearer
  3) The note that a substantive change from D+O is that "the removal 
of some unusual DAML+OIL constructs, particularly restrictions with 
extra components" still needs improvement - it was unclear to some 
what it means, or how general it is.
  4) The value of a mapping from this document to Mike Dean's 
"concrete syntax" is clear and one should be included if the document 
it to be published.

As chair I would welcome feedback on this last point in particular - 
I am willing to support the group's decision either way.

[1] http://www.w3.org/2002/06/27-webont-irc
Professor James Hendler				  hendler@cs.umd.edu
Director, Semantic Web and Agent Technologies	  301-405-2696
Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Lab.	  301-405-6707 (Fax)
Univ of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742	  240-731-3822 (Cell)
Received on Thursday, 27 June 2002 13:33:53 UTC

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