W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-wg@w3.org > April 2011

Re: ISSUE-30: How does SPARQL's notion of RDF dataset relate our notion of multiple graphs?

From: Steve Harris <steve.harris@garlik.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 10:44:03 +0100
Cc: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, RDF Working Group WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <E2E66E7E-8256-40E3-B623-7A43110C331F@garlik.com>
To: nathan@webr3.org
On 2011-04-19, at 09:48, Nathan wrote:
>>>> I suggest, in all seriousness, that you put this forward as a WG issue: propose that RDF be declared to have no normative semantics at all. At the very least, the resulting debate might get some issues out into the open air. 
>>> Look, Pat. I like having normative entailment rules written down. I like having normative axiomatic triples. I like having normative text about the treatment of blank nodes. I like having normative text that explains how datatypes work. All of these things give rise to conformance criteria and can be written down in test cases and lead to observable behaviour in software implementations and validatable criteria in published data. But I don't believe that writing down all these nice things in a certain mathematical notation imbues magical properties on RDF and constitutes the difference between RDF being “meaningful” and “meaningless”. As I see it, RDF is a data model like any other, but it comes with quite a sweet set of inference machinery that happens to be written down in a manner that is rather quirky and impenetrable (for the intended target audience, which should be implementers of RDF-based systems and authors of RDF data).
>> I honestly don't believe that authors of RDF data should be reading, or have to read, any of the formal specs. I wouldn't stop anyone, and it's how I learnt RDF (there wasn't much else), but I just don't believe that it's the most efficient way to learn this stuff.
> It's pretty critical to have those specifications there to read should one want though, and as a source of reference surely!? Alongside decent tutorials and good tooling, "readable specs" are pretty important.

Yes, note that I said “authors of RDF data”, not implementors.

I doubt that more than a handful of RDF authors have ever needed to understand “The denotation of a ground RDF graph in I”, for example.

- Steve

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Received on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 09:44:32 UTC

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