Re: To RDF or not to RDF


On 6/22/13 9:22 AM, Kingsley Idehen <> wrote:

> I am sure you know I am not advocating reinvention of anything.
> I am advocating the principle of "independent invention" [1] whereby the
> concepts denoted by "Linked Data" , "Semantic Web", and "RDF" are the
> focal point rather than their many labels.

> As you know personally, I am all about telling the same story in
> different ways, subject to my target audience. As you also know, at this
> point in time, there are more folks familiar with the entity
> relationship model and EAV/CR than there are RDF and its specific
> contributions to this innovation continuum.
> Our collective goal is to get everyone to embrace the fundamental
> concept. That can happen without being distracted by its many labels.
> We want to free data from the tyranny of applications. Data and
> applications should be loosely coupled, just as concepts and labels
> should be loosely coupled :-)

I wasn't talking about you (or *to* you) when I originally posted. I am
not worried about what you do, you and I have been much "on the same page"
for a long time.

Here's the point I was trying to make: People can embrace the *idea* of
Linked Data (or Semantic Web) without even knowing what RDF is let along
using RDF. You *can* do linked data using some other technologies. But,
you *cannot* do it "straight out of the box", you have to add things to
whatever technology you choose.

Take JSON, just as an example. You can syntactically encode many of the
structures we might need to do Linked Data using JSON, but JSON lacks the
stuff you need higher up the stack. So you add that -- for example, invent
a convention of how one JSON "object" can refer to another (those of you
reading this email who are now saying "just put a URI into a string" I
have bad news for you: You just flunked this class). What happens is that
you end up building stuff to accommodate the shortcomings of whatever
technology you chose, and the end result will look a lot like RDF.

I am tired. I am particularly tired of explaining that I don't want to add
anything to any existing technology that does not quite do Linked Data. I
have other things I want to do, much higher up the stack, and I just need
some things in the basement to be "nailed down". For me, that's where RDF
comes in. Philosophically, the principles like "independent invention" are
fine, but practically speaking I need some standards I can rely on, and
not constantly go with whatever is the "syntax-du-jour" of our industry.

Sorry to be a bit blunt.

	- Ora

Dr. Ora Lassila
Principal Technologist, Nokia

Received on Saturday, 22 June 2013 15:39:45 UTC