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Should we say "data model"?

From: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:57:34 +0200
Message-ID: <CAK4ZFVHydEwJkQ6XrWarK8iBxuio9UkaBDcN22T3fdY=gWw+Mw@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-rdf-shapes@w3.org
Dear all

My first post to this forum. I've been following the conversation with
great interest, as someone who has been, as many others around here it
seems, hacking OWL for about ten years to express what boils down (in the
software architecture my company is selling) to a kind of
entity-relationship data model. Unless our customers are already familiar
with OWL and ontologies (which is still the minority of them, I must
admit), the easiest way to communicate about this piece in the architecture
is to call it the "model" if nobody around has a background in formal logic
or model theory where "model" has a quite different meaning. People familar
with UML buy this quite easily. Add to this a layer of discourse about the
benefit of standard vocabularies and shared URIs, and you're done with
justifying the hack, most of the time. And a pinch of validation rules, aka
business rules, for the tricky things that do no fit well in the model.

Our interlocutors are data managers, in a very broad acception of the term.
What they want is being able to control data quality everywhere : at
production and edition time (controlled interfaces), at exchange interfaces
(import/export), at data aggregation (if D1 and D2 are valid datasets, what
happens when I merge them) etc. The message to data managers should be: if
you migrate your data to RDF, you will be able to achieve all those tasks
based on standard language(s) and procedures.

Data managers are likely to frown at ontologies, shapes, application
profiles etc, all terminology from various foreign lands they don't really
want to explore. But if you say "data model" and if it looks more or less
like a good old UML they will be ready to buy it.  If you speak of
validation and inference rules on top of the model, they can understand
also.

>From various posts in this conversation, I understand that the difference
between an open world axiom/rule and a closed word constraint is more a
question of interpretation than of formal structure. Does that mean that we
are looking for something (language, format, whatever) that could be
interpreted either with the open world assumption to support open world
reasoning, and (exactly the same piece) interpreted in closed world
applications as a constraint for interfaces or a validation rule?

Thoughts?
Received on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 15:58:22 UTC

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