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Re: What *is* RDF?

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 10:41:16 +0200
Message-ID: <AANLkTin2SAD-_A3pnUhLwjda9bm6p8_1fJv06W_qeFMH@mail.gmail.com>
To: Peter Frederick Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: public-rdf-wg@w3.org
Hi Peter,

On 25 March 2011 17:49, Peter Frederick Patel-Schneider
<pfps@research.bell-labs.com> wrote:

> Well, I just whipped up the following, which I think is a first cut at
> what I might give to a knowledgable CS person (whether this group covers
> enough web developers is a different question, of course).  Of course,
> it is a lot longer that Richard's charaterisation of JSON, but this is
> only to be expected.
>
> peter
>
>                What is RDF(S)?
>
> RDF(S) (Resource Desription Framework (Schema)) is a logic [but don't be
> scared by this] (and data model) for representing information on the
> Web.
>
> RDF(S) uses RDF graphs to represent information.  An RDF graph is a set
> of facts or RDF triples, each of which has a subject, a predicate, and
> an object.

[...] [snip]

Thanks, this is quite a refreshing read :) It's not quite "stick it on
a t-shirt" material but is in a way a manifesto for RDF's underlying
simplicity.

I'd suggest one tweak, "An RDF graph is a set of *facts*" seems rather
idealistic (in the nicest way). It suggests each triple can be
(usefully) interpreted as a true statement about the world. Lots of
RDF data is just plain wrong, out of date, malicious
(over-enthusiastic SEO) or by some design capturing non-current
worldview - logs, archives, etc. The original RDF specs talked about
statements. I've tended to use 'claims' more recently but maybe that
brings the notion of "who is the claimer here?" prematurely into the
foreground. RDF documents that contain falsehoods are presumably
somehow "still RDF", and can be managed using the same tool chain -
eg. consulted in SPARQL databases.

"... uses RDF graps to represent factual information" is a tiny bit
softer; I think people would intuitively accept the notion that not
every fragment of "factual information" must always be correct. And
then maybe, "... is a set of statements or RDF triples, each of
which...".

cheers,

Dan
Received on Thursday, 31 March 2011 08:41:49 UTC

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