W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdfa@w3.org > February 2009

Re: RDFa and Web Directions North 2009

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 22:15:36 +0000 (UTC)
To: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Cc: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, Michael Bolger <michael@michaelbolger.net>, public-rdfa@w3.org, RDFa mailing list <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>, Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0902132205030.952@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Fri, 13 Feb 2009, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
> When writing HTML (by hand or indirectly via a program) I want to 
> isolate at describe what the content is about in terms of people, 
> places, and other real-world things. I want to isolate "Napoleon" from a 
> paragraph or heading, and state that the aforementioned entity is: is 
> of type "Person" and he is associated with another entity "France".

Why? (I do not ask this rhetorically.)

How do you envisage these annotations being used?

Note that you can already "ask questions" on the Web. For example, I just 
searched for "which country napolean", which is neither the right question 
nor correctly spelt (though that wasn't intentional), and Google answered:

   Did you mean: which country napoleon  

   Search Results

   French invasion of Russia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Napoleon I of France - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Microsoft Live Search actually gave even better results here ("Napoleon I 
of France" is the first answer).

> The use-case above is like taking a highlighter and making notes while 
> reading about "Napoleon".

The <mark> element in HTML5 is somewhat intended for use as the 
highlighter, but it doesn't intrinsically give a way to relate "France" 
with "Napoleon". (You can mark "France" as a "Place" and "Napolean" as a 
"Person" by minting some class names, maybe somewhat unique ones like 
"kidehen.place" and "kidehen.person", and telling people you have done so, 
so that they can use the same annotations, if that helps.)

> This is what we all do when studying, but when we were kids, we never 
> actually shared that part of our endeavors since it was typically the 
> route to competitive advantage i.e., being top student in the class.

Speak for yourself; I made all my work available online as I was writing 
it, from early in high school. :-)

> RDFa is about the ability to share what never used to be shared. It 
> provides a simple HTML friendly mechanism that enables Web Users or 
> Developers to describe things using the Entity-Attribute-Value approach 
> (or Subject, Predicate, Object) without the tedium associated with 
> RDF/XML (one of the other methods of making statements for the 
> underlying graph model that is RDF).

I'm not sure I agree that RDFa is "simple" enough. Authors have enough 
trouble dealing with <h1> or <em>; the idea that they would use RDFa as it 
is defined today correctly seems optimistic.

I'm also not clear on why RDFa is needed to share this information -- 
isn't English a good solution to sharing? It seems to work well for 
Wikipedia, no? What is RDFa actually going to add to the experience?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 13 February 2009 22:16:30 UTC

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