Re: comment - RDFTM: Survey of Interoperability Proposals

From: "Bernard Vatant" <>
Subject: RE: comment - RDFTM: Survey of Interoperability Proposals
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 03:07:35 +0100

> Peter
> Even if I am not responsible for a single line in the survey, please let me answer to some
> of your remarks.

[Stuff about topic maps per se removed.  I will reply separately.]

[Agreement on problems with lack of definitional references for both RDF
and Topic Maps removed.]

> > The second problem is that many of the interoperability proposals predate
> > the finalization of the RDF Semantics.  Their current applicability is thus
> > very suspect.  The document needs to carefully consider this aspect of each
> > proposal.
> I'm not sure of what you mean by "predate" here. Sorry.

Predate, as in "previous in date", as in prior.

> > The third problem is that RDF and Topic Maps belong to different
> > categories, at least so far as I can determine.
> By essence, yes. But their story tends to show that differences in nature seem less and
> less important compared to the community of what they both want to achieve. People do
> things with TM that they could do with RDF, and vice-versa. Maybe they should not, maybe
> it's hacking, in any case they do it. Why? Only out of poor understanding and mental
> confusion, like football fanatics?

So what?  If RDF and Topic Maps belong to different categories and are thus
incomparable, then there are two ways to proceed.  The first way is to
simply realize this, and not attempt to achieve (or document)
interoperability.  The second way is to augment or modify one or the other
so that interoperability is possible.

> > RDF is now a formally-specified logic with a model-theoretic semantics.
> > Topic Maps is not.  This difference matters, and needs to be taken into account in every
> > discussion of the relationship between RDF and Topic Maps.
> Agreed again.
> > At best, there needs to be some way to determine that the interoperability proposals
> > preserve logical equivalence on the RDF side.  At worst, there is no point
> > in doing any mappings, as RDF and Topic Maps are simply incomparable.
> Sorry but I think this latter position is not more sustainable that saying, say, English
> and Chinese are simply incomparable.   Sure there are many things in Chinese that are not
> translatable in English, and maybe the other way round, but that does not mean there is no
> point in trying to make Chinese-speaking and English-speaking folks trying to understand
> each other.

Ah, here is where I disagree.  English and Chinese fit into the same
category, namely human natural languages.  There is at least therefore some
evidence that they are comparable.  I don't see any such evidence for RDF
and Topic Maps.

[More on Topic Maps per se removed.]

> Best regards

> Bernard Vatant

Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research

Received on Wednesday, 9 March 2005 11:03:48 UTC