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Re: Comments on 17 December 2013 WD of RDF 1.1 Primer

From: 'Thomas Baker' <tom@tombaker.org>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 19:06:15 -0500
To: Markus Lanthaler <markus.lanthaler@gmx.net>
Cc: 'Guus Schreiber' <guus.schreiber@vu.nl>, 'RDF Working Group' <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>, 'Public RDF comments list' <public-rdf-comments@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20140205000614.GA84493@julius.local>
On Mon, Feb 03, 2014 at 08:06:31PM +0100, Markus Lanthaler wrote:
> > >          The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a language for
> > >          expressing information about things.
> > 
> > See also responses to Bob and Antoine. Changed as suggested except for
> > "language". Admittedly, "framework" is a bit vague, but language would
> > create the wrong expression (with so many concrete syntaxes floating
> > around).
> What about "data model" instead of "framework" or "language"?

The W3C Web page for RDF [1] calls it a "standard model for data interchange":

    RDF is a standard model for data interchange on the Web. RDF has features
    that facilitate data merging even if the underlying schemas differ, and it
    specifically supports the evolution of schemas over time without requiring
    all the data consumers to be changed.

    RDF extends the linking structure of the Web to use URIs to name the
    relationship between things as well as the two ends of the link (this is
    usually referred to as a ‚€œtriple‚€). Using this simple model, it allows
    structured and semi-structured data to be mixed, exposed, and shared across
    different applications.

    This linking structure forms a directed, labeled graph, where the edges
    represent the named link between two resources, represented by the graph
    nodes. This graph view is the easiest possible mental model for RDF and is
    often used in easy-to-understand visual explanations. 

I like the "standard model" bit alot, though "data interchange" evokes the
image of a concrete syntax.

I also like that this explanation calls out the use of URIs as names already in
the second paragraph.  The first sentence of the third paragraph is borderline
geeky ("edges", "nodes", "directed"), but this segues nicely to "the easiest
possible mental model" and "easy-to-understand visual explanations".  

In the draft Primer [2], URIs are first introduced in the third paragraph,
almost parenthetically: "Alice, as identified by her IRI..." (see below).  Not
that the Primer needs to present exactly the same message, but there are
aspects of the message in [1] that work well.

Sorry to keep returning to this, but first impressions are hard to change, and
for many people, the first two or three paragraphs of the Primer will be where
that impression is formed.


[1] http://www.w3.org/RDF/
[2] https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/rdf/raw-file/default/rdf-primer/index.html#


The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a framework for expressing
information about resources. Resources can be anything, including documents,
people, physical objects, and abstract concepts.

RDF is intended for situations in which information on the Web needs to be
processed by applications, rather than being only displayed to people. RDF
provides a common framework for expressing this information so it can be
exchanged between applications without loss of meaning. Since it is a common
framework, application designers can leverage the availability of common RDF
parsers and processing tools. The ability to exchange information between
different applications means that the information may be made available to
applications other than those for which it was originally created.

In particular RDF can be used to publish and interlink data on the Web. For
example, retrieving http://www.example.org/bob#me could provide data about Bob,
including the fact that he knows Alice, as identified by her IRI (an IRI is an
"International Resource Identifier"; see Sec. 3.2 for details). Retrieving
Alice's IRI could then provide more data about her, including links to other
datasets for her friends, interests, etc. A person or an automated process can
then follow such links and aggregate data about these various things. Such uses
of RDF are often qualified as Linked Data [LINKED-DATA]. 

Tom Baker <tom@tombaker.org>
Received on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 00:06:54 UTC

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