Re: Resolving rdfms-assertion: media type draft, IRC discussion

Aaron Swartz wrote:

> Well, I just finished reading an interesting discussion on #rdfig on 
> this issue[1], and folks seem to be making it more complicated than I 
> think it is, but I hope to provide some ideas on where to go. Here's 
> what my Media Type draft says:
> """
> Because RDF is a format for semantically-meaningful information, it is 
> important to note that transmission of RDF under this media type, 
> whether via HTTP, SMTP or some similar protocol, means that the sender 
> asserts the content of the RDF document. If this is not desirable, such 
> as when a system is forwarding RDF written by someone else, another 
> applicable media type, such as application/xml or 
> application/octet-stream should be used. Also note that RDF provides 
> reification so that RDF statements can be sent and discussed without 
> actually being asserted themselves.

I might comment on TBL's points (not that I am necessarily going to disagree!)

later, but I do want to comment on this first bit.  Perhaps I don't understand 
all the semantics associated with a media type, but it seems to me that this 
merges the notion of what the language or representation of the content is with
what it means, at least to some extent.   Consider the case mentioned above, 
where the system is forwarding RDF written by someone else.  The proposal seems
to say that I'm forced to obscure what the language being sent actually is, i.e., 
RDF, in order that it won't be misunderstood (as a set of assertions by the sender).
It seems to me that the proper approach would be to have the MIME type correctly
indicate which processor ought to handle the content (an RDF processor), and then
some RDF mechanism (e.g., however we decide to handle provenance?) ought to be 
available to indicate whether that RDF is to be interpreted as assertions by the 
sender, or something else.  It seems to me that RDF is supposed to be about handling 
this "meaning" business, and we ought to be looking for solutions along RDF-ish lines.
(Speech-Acts anyone?).



Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-875

Received on Friday, 16 November 2001 17:47:09 UTC