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Re: ODF and semantic web

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2007 10:21:25 +0200
Message-ID: <47132305.3010600@w3.org>
To: Elias Torres <elias@torrez.us>
Cc: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@formsPlayer.com>, Bruce D'Arcus <bdarcus@gmail.com>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, W3C RDFa task force <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>
Elias, Mark, Bruce, & al

First of all: I think Elias is right. 'Our' (if one can define this
'our', which is not always easy) first reaction should be (and believe
me, is!): yey! Having _some_ syntax to store RDF metadata in ODF _is_
major and good news. In some ways, _what_ the exact serialization syntax
is remains of a secondary importance as long as it is clearly defined
and transformable (via GRDDL or anything else, although GRDDL comes to
one's mind first) into other formats. So yes, yey!:-)

As for Mark's concerns: yes, if RDFa could be used, that would be even
better, because it would reduce the number of overlapping serializations
and would therefore help in a quicker integration of ODF metadata into
the SW world. It would be good _if_ it is possible and meets the
constraints that ODF has. At this point, the obvious question and
comment is: what can be done to help improve this? There are some
(probably solvable) technical issues; and there are also 'social', ie,
the 'how to do it?', 'where and how to comment?' part. I think Elias'
and Bruce's advise on that would be really welcome. We can then try to
take it from there...



Elias Torres wrote:
> Mark Birbeck wrote:
>> Hi Bruce,
>>> I've mentioned this here before, but more on RDF-in-OpenDocument.
>>> <http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/10/odf-enters-semantic-web.html>
>>> The OpenOffice project is now starting to looking into implementing it,
>>> so people here might be interested.
>> I note that the attributes used in ODF are 'inspired' by RDFa [1]--but
>> why not just incorporate RDFa as is?
> First reason is because RDFa is still not finished, published,
> recommended etc. We are currently working on a XHTML 1.1 module and that
> I know of there's no work in progress for a recommendation on how to
> host RDFa in other XML languages. I understand that you have
> ideas/vision/plans, but just like every other standards group or task
> force, you can't depend on too many working drafts/vision/plan unless
> deadlines are of no concern. This is a very common practice at the W3C
> as well, so I hope that's enough for you to understand why we couldn't
> embed RDFa as is.
> Secondly, we are just getting to a point of good coverage of the issues
> that surround adding metadata to XHTML, but unfortunately, although you
> might see very little differences between XHTML and any other XML
> vocabulary, there's a lot of things to both work out and build from
> scratch in some XML vocabularies where something as basic as the
> document location/hyperlink not being defined as it's the case for ODF.
> I think we are too critical when we make these statements especially
> when I indicated many times in our calls that I was involved in this
> work and I didn't hear anyone volunteering to help. For example, several
> times I went as far as asking you personally for suggestions in some
> aspects of the RDFa spec before it was even brought up to the RDFa task
> force for sake of progress in the ODF metadata specification.
> Unfortunately, the task forces were working in parallel and it just
> wasn't feasible to combine both groups, learn each others requirements
> and deliver a single document. I wish things were as simple as me
> saying: hey guys let's use the RDFa spec from the W3C and put an
> OASIS/ODF rubber stamp on it and everyone just said: great, let's do that.
>> It's especailly confusing for authors when this 'inpiration' seems to
>> involve copying some RDFa attributes, but changing the names of
>> others. For example, @about is used, but @datatype has been renamed to
>> @data-type!
> I would first hope that there's no a problem with us getting
> inspiration/copying the RDFa attributes. It was a long and arduous
> process to get where we are today. Bruce and I put in a LOT of time and
> patience until the group passed from storming to performing.
> Svante/Patrick put in an amazing effort with the documents (very similar
> to what you have done with the RDFa documents). We are now a
> happy/loving bunch and Bruce and I are grateful to our colleagues for
> putting up enough with us to the point that they now share our vision
> for metadata in office applications. It really took a lot of listening
> on their part for us to share everything we thought was great about the
> RDFa work. The ODF Metadata group was so much more welcoming to our
> perspective as opposed to other non-SW bred groups and us arguing about
> 'dash' felt to me disrespectful, if not rude.
>> This lack of alignment is a shame, especially when the proponents of
>> ODF are generally critical of the confusion that can be caused by
>> companies and organisations pursuing alternate document formats. There
>> is a fantastic opportunity here for creating tools and search engines
>> that could leverage a 'standard' way of incorporating metadata into
>> HTML, XHTML, ODF, and other mark-up languages. That opportunity now
>> looks like it is going to be missed.
> I'm not as intimate with the ODF organization, but I would not confuse
> this sub-committee/task force with the rest of the organization.
> Besides, I think the issues surrounding OOXML and ODF are orthogonal to
> what you claim is happening in this 'divergence' of formats. Of course,
> I believe that there's a fantastic opportunity here for creating tools
> and blah blah into HTML, XHTML, ODF, etc. But please don't blame us for
> the fact that not everyone in the world wants to adhere to our
> views/technology of the Semantic Web. I think that this 'standard' way
> of thinking has hurt us more than helped to reach the goal. I totally
> disagree that one parser will  be capable to address the issues of
> metadata in ODF vs HTML. I caught myself making those arguments to later
> change my mind and understand that in the end it's just code that gets
> written and overwritten every other day, but a consensus to work
> together as individuals and put our differences aside is much harder to
> develop, no pun intended.
> We were hoping to receive a warm welcome for the work we put into the
> ODF Metadata for the purpose of advancing the Semantic Web, but as
> always, you can't please everyone. Fortunately, I still believe ODF
> Metadata + RDF/XML is making the case for extensibility, flexibility,
> linked data, openness and so on, independently of whether we used the
> same parser or not. We need to keep examining ourselves in the likes of
> Bijan [1] so we assess what are the real problems hindering progress on
> the Web by our standards and do more showing/telling and
> implementation/adoption before rushing to standardizing. At least I
> partially felt that way with ODF Metadata and towards the end of the
> first draft, I agreed that less was better given that this was the first
> introduction of RDF to the ODF world. Look at Mozilla for example and I
> hope that we start small and prove the value before forcing things
> without immediate benefits.
> DISCLAIMER: At the risk of sounding schizo, here it goes. Mark, you know
> we are cool and I'm not at all targeting everything towards you only but
> to the larger community. We are colleagues, have been working together
> for a while now and share a lot in common when it comes to RDFa, but I
> had been meaning to reply to Bijan's email and vent a little on some of
> the issues surrounding many groups/technologies on the W3C and you had
> to push me over the edge :D
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/semantic-web/2007Oct/0039.html
>> Regards,
>> Mark
>> [1]
>> <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/25055/Metadata_22August2007.txt>


Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
PGP Key: http://www.ivan-herman.net/pgpkey.html
FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf

Received on Monday, 15 October 2007 08:21:26 UTC

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