Re: What Does Point Number 3 of TimBL's Linked Data Mean?

On 06/21/2013 01:06 PM, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
> All,
> Situation Analysis (for additional context):
> There are two versions of Design Issues documents [1][2] from TimBL
> where the primary topic is Linked Data. Both documents a comprised of
> four bullet points that outline a principled approach to document
> content production and publication en route to a Web of Data.
> Naturally, for a majority of folks, TimBL's design issue memes
> (irrespective of their clearly stated disclaimers) are deemed
> authoritative with regards to matters relating to Web Architecture and
> best practices.

Again, that is a *mischaracterization*.  TimBl's design issue memes are 
not dictums to be blindly followed.  They offer *insights* that must be 
*understood*.  They are *brilliant* insights if they are understood, but 
they are also terse, sloppily written, full of typos, and dependent on a 
lot on context to understand.  Thus they are easily misunderstood as well.

> Current Problem:
> The fundamental meaning of point three in both Linked Data memes has
> *inadvertently* lead to very strong differences of opinion, with regards
> to interpretation. Here are the two interpretations (that I know of)
> which stand out the most:
> 1. RDF and SPARQL are implementation details
> 2. RDF and SPARQL aren't implementation details -- basically, you can't
> produce Linked Data without knowledge and/or a commitment to either.

Yet again you have mischaracterized this debate.  AFAIK *nobody* on this 
list has claimed that SPARQL is a required element of Linked Data, even 
though it may be a *common* element.

*Think* about it.  Can the goals of the Semantic Web be achieved without 
SPARQL?  Certainly.  Can they be achieved without RDF?   Not without 
re-architecting the Semantic Web, because without a standard universal 
data model, we would have walled gardens of data that a client 
application could not meaningfully combine.

> Why do we need to resolve this matter?
> It has become a distraction at every level, it is basically leading to
> fragmentation where there should be common understanding. For example,
> some of us are more comfortable with RDF and SPARQL as implementation
> details while others aren't (it seems!). This difference of
> interpretation appears insignificant at first blush, but as you
> drill-down into the many threads about this matter we also hit the key
> issues of *tolerance* vs *dogma*.

No, it is not about *dogma*, it is about conforming to *architecture* to 
make the Semantic Web work.  The use of URIs in the web is not dogma, it 
is a fundamental piece of the architecture that makes the web work. 
Similarly, RDF is a fundamental piece of the architecture that makes the 
Semantic Web work.  The Semantic Web requires a standard universal data 
model, just as the web requires a standard universal identification 
scheme.  URIs were chosen as that universal identification scheme; RDF 
was chosen as that universal data model.

> What do I mean by RDF and SPARQL are Linked Data implementation details?

Call them implementation details if you wish, but RDF is an 
implementation detail just as URIs are an implementation detail.  Users 
do not need to understand them, but they *must* be there for the 
Semantic Web and the regular web to work.

> They are W3C standards that aid the process of building Linked Data (as
> outlined in the TimBL's revised meme). That said, it doesn't mean that
> you cannot take other paths to Linked Data while remaining 100%
> compliant with the essence of TimBL's original Linked Data meme.

Wrong.  If you believe that the essence of TimBL's Linked Data meme is 
to enable the Semantic Web, or if you believe that Linked Data is "the 
Semantic Web done right", then there *is* no other path to Linked Data, 
because the Semantic Web critically relies on the use of a standard 
universal data model, just as the regular web critically relies on the 
use of a standard universal identification scheme: URIs.  If you 
represent data in a non-RDF-enabled format, then client applications 
will not able to automatically combine that data with other data.  Each 
kind of data will be its own walled garden, and that is the *opposite* 
of what the Semantic Web aims to achieve.  The inescapable implication 
is that unless the Semantic Web is re-architected, RDF is *required* for 
Linked Data to support the Semantic Web, just as URIs are *required* for 
the web.


Received on Friday, 21 June 2013 23:29:01 UTC