a concern on SW technologies: document content

Hi SWEOids,

Wing and I had an interesting and somewhat enlightening conversation with 
another IBMer today. Our colleague was somewhat familiar with the SW world 
and is very familiar with the XML world, and he expressed concerns that SW 
technologies (and RDF / SPARQL in particular) may fall short in one 
prominent area in which XML / XQuery shines: dealing with content-oriented 
(often mixed content) documents. He was concerned about this given some of 
our claims about the value of RDF/SW technologies as a unifying 
environment for data and metadata.

He gave various examples ranging from insurance policies to resumes to 
rentral agreements, with the basic idea being that XQuery can easily 
answer questions that involve searching within a document (or, more-so, 
searching for text in a particular paragraph of a document, perhaps with 
emphasis added) which uses XML markup. He wondered aloud and we discussed 
what the SW approach to this would be, and we agreed that it's lacking 
right now. He expressed worry that whereas XML can wrap data that might be 
best expressed as relational or RDF data (and then join that data in 
XQuery queries with document data), the RDF world may not have as nice a 

I (personally) need to think the issues here through a bit more, but to me 
it was not an objection that I've heard commonly, but it was an 
interesting one to which I had no immediate response, so I wanted to throw 
it out here and solicit thoughts and/or feedback. (I don't think it's 
imperative that we have an immediate or bulletproof response to every 
potential SW objection, but thinking about where the technologies fall 
short in addition to where they excel should help us craft our messaging.)

have a good weekend everyone,

Received on Friday, 8 December 2006 20:52:48 UTC