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Re: Advice on Referencing External Vocabularies

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@google.com>
Date: Wed, 04 Nov 2015 14:42:51 +0000
Message-ID: <CAK-qy=6WFNh4qzaD9Yi1L-SWGFvN12_0cdaR2E5iEtWix_uGMw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>, W3C Public Annotation List <public-annotation@w3.org>
On Wed, 4 Nov 2015 at 07:12 Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org> wrote:

> Hi, Dan–
> Thanks for the discussions at TPAC.
> (Context: Danbri is the coordinator for Schema.org, one of the
> contributors to Dublin Core, founder of FOAF, and a long-time SemWeb
> expert, experienced in both application development and in standards. I
> asked him over dinner what approach we should use in referencing
> external vocabularies for our terms.)
> If you'll recall, I asked you for advice on what vocabulary to
> reference, and relative influence and usage of `dc-term`s vs Schema.org.
> I was surprised by your answer… If I understood correctly, you suggested
> not using any one canonical external vocabulary in our spec, but rather
> to offer a set of equivalent vocabulary terms that might be used,
> depending on the project. On the one hand, this makes sense, and is a
> decentralized solution; on the other, it doesn't really reduce the
> complexity, as I'd hoped to do by referencing only a single external
> vocabulary. Could you explain the rationale there, or correct my
> misunderstanding?
> Also, I asked about patterns of usage in `dc-term`s and Schema.org. My
> understanding was that Schema.org had already overtaken the usage of
> Dublin Core in the wider Web (though perhaps not in older libraries),
> and that it would be easiest for future developers if we used
> Schema.org; TimBL suggested during our F2F that more projects, and thus
> more tools, natively understood Dublin Core today; ultimately, I guess
> we need to figure out the right balance (or, maybe not, if we follow
> your advice on including multiple references). I think you had a more
> nuanced answer on usage patterns, too. Can you speak to that as well?
> All your explanations made sense to me at the time, but not enough for
> me to convey facts and explain it to others in this WG… I appreciate
> your helping us sort out some long-standing (if not particularly
> contentious) issues.

Hi :) Ok now I have to remember what I said. Oh dear...

I think the basic idea was to encourage you to find a balance between
giving the majority of users (implementors, spec readers, annotators, ...)
some sensible default general purpose vocabulary, while also leaving open
the option for those "in the know" to make the informed decision to switch
to a different vocabulary that more closely suits their needs.

At schema.org we're working hard to make it an attractive option for such
things, and I think it is fair to say it is the most actively updated large
scale RDF-based vocabulary[1]. That doesn't make it ideal for everyone. In
some public sector settings esp around libraries/archives/museums you'll
find more interest in Dublin Core. And my example when we spoke last week
was to consider a scenario such as annotation within the context of e.g.
Japanese digital government initiatives where there could well be specific
'local' vocabularies that are more appealing for such use cases.

It would be a pity if the WG said something too strict, and ruled out such
scenarios. It would also be a pity if things became too fragmented due to
lack of clear "if you don't know that you want something different, this
will probably do nicely" simple examples. The trick is to find some kind of
balance, where the compliance with the core architectural aspects of the
technology is a stricter constraint than the descriptive vocabulary that
surrounds it.

Hope that makes some sense,



[1] for recent published changes see http://schema.org/docs/releases.html

for pending new release, see

> Thanks–
> –Doug
Received on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 14:43:31 UTC

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