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Re: What is it that's wrong with rdf:List [summary]

From: Antoine Zimmermann <antoine.zimmermann@deri.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 12:46:52 +0100
Message-ID: <4C20A2AC.3050403@deri.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
CC: Michael Schneider <schneid@fzi.de>, Norman Gray <norman@astro.gla.ac.uk>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Le 22/06/2010 01:59, Pat Hayes a écrit :
> [...]
> Well, yes, of course they can. It is in a sense trivial to simply
> transcribe the rdf:List vocabulary into another namespace and just use
> that instead. And as you say, RDF assigns no formal semantics to this
> vocabulary (just a kind of vague recommendation to use it properly, and
> then interpret it as denoting the list structures it seems to describe),
> so using your own home-rolled version is just as semantically good. But
> this ignores the social utility of there being a *single* list
> vocabulary that every one uses. Without this, lists are useless. There
> is no point in my using my list vocabulary to make well-formed lists if
> you can['t query my RDF without knowing my list vocabulary. There needs
> to be a *single*, *normative* list vocabulary in order for RDF to
> function as an interchange language. And it is the using-up of the
> obvious one by OWL which is the issue with which we began. Its not
> really a technical problem at all: the technical problem is completely
> trivial. Its a political/social/standardization problem which can only
> be solved by the W3C.
> I disagree with jeremy about ho hard this is to solve. If we had
> collectively had the foresight to see this problem coming, the obvious
> thing to have done would to have introduced *two* LIst-style sets of
> primitives into RDF, one for general use and the other reserved for
> encoding OWL syntax. And this is still a viable alternative, given that
> RDF is being re-thought

Actually, this is exactly what the OWL 2 Working Group did in order to 
allow annotations of axioms: they needed a form of reification, but they 
decided not to spoil the RDF reification vocabulary, so they defined new 


So, yes, this kind of solution is doable and viable.


Its a pity that the obvious, intuitive names
> have been used up for syntax encoding, so that the 'real' list
> vocabulary for general use will have to be different, but that is a
> minor matter. The world will rapidly get used to calling them
> 'sequences' or some such name. (I hereby vote for rdf:Sexpession, which
> is historically accurate and is likely to give rise to an entirely new
> generation of amusing misunderstandings; and rdf:car and rdf:cdr also
> have a delightfully retro flavor, combining Web 3.0 with the
> architecture of the IBM 704.)
> Pat
>> Cheers,
>> Michael
>> [1] <http://www.w3.org/2007/OWL/tracker/issues/129>
>> [2] <http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/REC-owl2-mapping-to-rdf-20091027/>
>> --
>> Dipl.-Inform. Michael Schneider
>> Research Scientist, Information Process Engineering (IPE)
>> Tel : +49-721-9654-726
>> Fax : +49-721-9654-727
>> Email: michael.schneider@fzi.de
>> WWW : http://www.fzi.de/michael.schneider
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Antoine Zimmermann
Post-doctoral researcher at:
Digital Enterprise Research Institute
National University of Ireland, Galway
IDA Business Park
Lower Dangan
Galway, Ireland
Received on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 11:47:25 UTC

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