RE: Showing the Semantic Web

Hi Frank,

Thanks for your long and thoughtful mail of 18 Jan 2006 and 
apologies for the delay in my reply, caused by the usual syndrome of 
too much to do and not enough hours in the day (or night).  
Yesterday I heard on the radio about some new pills which cut down 
the amount of sleep one requires.  Maybe I need to get a pack ...

I'm responding here to two of your points.

> Why don't you explain a little more (in particular, say why you 
> think NewsML is the most important application to enter the 
> Semantic Web arena), if you think it's that worthwhile as a matter 
> of general interest?

The News Industry (ie the News Agencies, represented by the 
International Press Telecommunications Council) has decided to 
develop a standard for B2B News exchange which is designed to be 
compatible with the Semantic Web.  I know of no other industry whose 
entire output will form part of the Semantic Web.  Do you?

> First, I've reviewed some of your past email on NewsML.  It seems 
> to me that, to the extent you explicitly asked for help, you got 
> it (I recall a reification question;  were there others?).

This is absolutely correct.  My concern is that something as 
fundamental as how to express:

-  who said that the subject/genre/creator/etc of the story/picture/
   /video/etc is foo?

-  when did they say it?

-  with what confidence did they say it?

-  etc

seems to still be at the level of "Well, you could do it like this, 
or you could do it like that".

Forgive me for being naive, but I do not comprehend how it will be 
possible to formulate successful queries along the lines of:

   Find me all stories about which X says with more than 70% 
   confidence that they have subject Y.

if there isn't an agreed way of making these assertions, supported 
by an adequate range of off-the-shelf tools.

There are also a number of more detailed issues on which we've got no 
help at all.  I don't recall on which list we aired them, so it may 
not have been here.  These include:

-  The inability of various RDF-related formats etc to deal with 
   numeric codes.

-  The problem of how to reconcile having 20-30 taxonomies in a 
   document with keeping the document reasonably small.  We have 
   asked about alternative mechanisms for declaring alias/URI 
   correspondence, but all we have got back is: Use XML Namespaces.
   This is despite the fact that we are not declaring namespaces 
   for elements/attributes etc, and so do not need to be bound by 
   the contraints specified for those.

The RDF-in-XHTML task force is well on the path to specifying 
CURIEs, which will address the first of these two concerns, but not 
the second.  Consequently, we are having to invent our own 
declaration mechanism, which is regrettable.


To find out more about Reuters visit

Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifically states them to be the views of Reuters Ltd.

Received on Friday, 17 February 2006 20:20:21 UTC