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Re: [tangle] getting the semweb exactly wrong

From: Timothy Falconer <timothy@immuexa.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 14:51:19 -0500
Message-Id: <16371A5E-829E-4FE5-9BBF-B5966E1E80CC@immuexa.com>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org
To: Frank Manola <fmanola@acm.org>
FYI, David Weinberger responded to my blog post (read the comments):


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Timothy Falconer
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On Jan 4, 2006, at 5:15 PM, Frank Manola wrote:

> Timothy Falconer wrote:
>> On Jan 3, 2006, at 12:35 PM, Frank Manola wrote:
>>> Timothy Falconer wrote:
>>>> Blog post excerpt:
>>>> "Reading such comments confounds me, since they've got it  
>>>> *exactly* wrong. The Semantic Web approach is LOOSE, not  
>>>> normalized.
>>>> ...
>>>  ...
>>> RDF data is *highly* normalized: RDF essentially organizes data  
>>> as binary relations (one per property) with surrogate keys  
>>> (URIs), which is as normalized as you can get.  This high degree  
>>> of normalization is one of the things that makes the data  
>>> structure so flexible. RDF is looser than the relational model in  
>>> some other respects, but they have nothing to do with  
>>> normalization.  "Normalized" isn't properly the opposite of  
>>> "loose" either
>> Frank,
>> You are of course correct.  As Danny pointed out, I was responding  
>> to David's comment.    I did balk at the term "normalized" when I  
>> wrote it, and tried a few other terms like "too constrained",  
>> "brittle", "rigid", "limiting", etc, but they didn't flow from the  
>> quote so left it as is.
>> Probably the best word to use in answer to his quote is "un- 
>> webby".   RDF is "webby", not "un-webby".    Remember, David  
>> Weinberger's the guy who wrote "Small Pieces Loosely Joined", so  
>> being webby is a big thing for him, as it is for a lot of us.    
>> Being webby's what made HTML/HTTP take off over the other more  
>> prescriptive hypertext schemes of the time.
> Timothy--
> Good.  Actually, I think "brittle" works pretty well, but searching  
> for a single, one-word descriptor for this is likely a losing  
> proposition. Look at how well the use of "normalized" worked, for  
> example!  I don't really like "un-webby" either, since you wind up  
> having to say what that means in more conventional terms.
> What's odd, when you think about it, is that the author of a book  
> called "Small Pieces Loosely Joined" should object to a Semantic  
> Web based on RDF which, after all, involves different individuals  
> describing things that are interesting to them by adding "small  
> pieces [triples] loosely joined" to the Web.  Can't get much  
> smaller (or more normalized) than a triple.
> Part of what may be going on here is the frequently-occurring  
> confusion that imagines that the use of schemas/ontologies on the  
> Web to describe terminology implies that everyone needs to use the  
> *same* terminology. What is actually going on, of course, is that  
> people are free to use their own terminologies, borrow from others  
> if they wish, or use existing terminologies in their entirety.   
> Using URIs for the terms keeps all this straight.  The terms may or  
> may not have definitions in schemas or ontologies.  People can come  
> along later and identify relationships between those terms, or  
> create (or add to) Web-accessible definitions.  Once again, "small  
> pieces loosely joined".
> How all this is "un-webby" is beyond me.  Surely Weinberger doesn't  
> imagine that all the pages on the existing Web use the same  
> terminology, or that the Web can't be useful without a given user  
> being able to understand all those pages (as should be clear by  
> now, I haven't read the book).
> --Frank

Received on Thursday, 5 January 2006 19:51:54 UTC

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