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Re: Request for feedback about RDF-star

From: Andy Seaborne <andy@seaborne.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2021 16:11:28 +0000
To: semantic-web@w3.org
Message-ID: <af246c5c-35c0-d06c-77a9-0e448bf02dc2@seaborne.org>

On 26/03/2021 09:03, Dan Brickley wrote:
> On Wed, 24 Mar 2021 at 09:25, Pierre-Antoine Champin 
> <pierre-antoine.champin@ercim.eu 
> <mailto:pierre-antoine.champin@ercim.eu>> wrote:
>     Dear Semantic Web community,
>     as you may already know, an informal "task force" has been created
>     in the RDF-DEV Community group [1], in order to produce a
>     specification document for RDF-star (née RDF*) [2]. RDF-star
>     extends RDF with native support for talking about RDF statements
>     (as an alternative to standard reification), and already has a
>     number of implementations. The goal of this work is to help ensure
>     that all implementations are actually interoperable (which is not
>     quite the case at the moment). Once this specification reaches a
>     stable state, and provided that we get enough interest from RDF
>     implementers and users, we will try to push it to Recommendation
>     track.
>     We require your feedback on the following question. We aim to mint
>     a new IRI to be used with RDF-star. In your opinion, is it
>     acceptable/desirable to propose its inclusion in the RDF namespace
>     [3], or should we instead mint it in a separate namespace? We
>     could not really reach consensus in the group, hence we wish to
>     get more opinions from the larger community.
>     We understand that, as a Community Group, we have no authority to
>     /actually/ update the namespace (this would be done only by a
>     future WG). But if we succeed in bringing this to a REC, changing
>     from rdf-star:X to rdf:X at that point will be impossible in
>     practice (remember the "0.1" part in FOAF IRIs?). And we also want
>     to avoid repeating the confusing namespace dichotomy of rdf: and
>     rdfs:. If we don't make it to a REC, this will mean that RDF-star
>     is not widely used anyway, and so our "polluting" the RDF
>     namespace will have had no real impact.
>     Some people in the group, on the other hand, feel that the RDF
>     namespace should considered fixed (although other specs have
>     already added terms to it [4,5]), or that the semantics of
>     RDF-star is not stable enough.
>     The whole discussion can be found in the minutes of our call [6].
>     Thanks in advance for your feedback.
> My advice would be to do something new. Perhaps we could arrange for a 
> new short memorable ns at W3C that could be used for this?

A single, new "rdfx" (extensions) for all proposed URIs?

> It isn't clear at this juncture whether RDF-star is the seeds of the 
> next generation of RDF, or a useful exploration. There are other 
> approaches in the broad area (e.g. Wikidata's data model, labelled 
> Property Graphs) and it is quite possible a future REC-track group 
> might take another approach. So presuming upon official inclusion into 
> the main RDF namespace seems a little presumptive of us, even if the 
> hope is that things head in that direction. It could also feel like 
> unfair on the W3C team to have us say "hey, millions of documents 
> think that "foo" is in the rdf: namespace, how about making that true?".
> Maybe there is something that could be said in the implementation 
> guide for software-creators to encourage it to be possible/easy to 
> accept a future term that *is* in W3C's RDF ns?

I had assumed that the RDF-star final report would be proposing a new 
URI, with text around it explaining that, rather than formally defining it.


> It's always been an awkward namespace btw, and is one of the oldest 
> XML namespaces (the XML Namespace technology was designed at the same 
> time, and not without controversies). One reason it is awkward is that 
> it contains symbols that are used purely for the RDF/XML syntax 
> designed back in 1997 (rdf:Description), but also it is just horribly 
> long and hard to remember.
>       pa
>     [1] https://www.w3.org/community/rdf-dev/
>     <https://www.w3.org/community/rdf-dev/>
>     [2] https://w3c.github.io/rdf-star/cg-spec/
>     <https://w3c.github.io/rdf-star/cg-spec/>
>     [3] http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#
>     <http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#>
>     [4] http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-plain-literal/
>     <http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-plain-literal/>
>     [5] https://www.w3.org/TR/json-ld11/
>     <https://www.w3.org/TR/json-ld11/>
>     [6] https://w3c.github.io/rdf-star/Minutes/2021-03-12.html#t04
>     <https://w3c.github.io/rdf-star/Minutes/2021-03-12.html#t04>
Received on Friday, 26 March 2021 16:12:29 UTC

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