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Re: PRIMER: Possible starting point?

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 11:14:59 -0400
Message-ID: <3BA8B673.2BCA9DFE@mitre.org>
To: Aaron Swartz <aswartz@upclink.com>
CC: RDF Core <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>

This is a useful contribution IMO;  it flows nicely, and the various
pieces hang together well (more than can be said about a lot of Semantic
Web material!).  I think one of the points you make that needs more
emphasis and development, not in your paper, but in our thinking about
the RDF/DAML/Semantic Web context, is the part about giving something a
URI, and then creating a Web page to describe it.  This is related to
our general discussions about the appropriate definition of "resource",
and the relationship of "data stuff" to "real stuff", but more than
that, I think we want to encourage the use of the Web as a readily
accessible source of metadata about things, and working out this
connection between URIs, the things they denote, and associated Web
information (and at the same time keeping the differences straight) is
important in making that happen.

A few quibbles:

1.  In the XML section, you emphasize that "each program is free to
interpret the markup in the way that's best for it."  That's certainly
true (and in practice there really isn't anything we can do about it
even if we wanted to!), but in your example the programs do interpret
the "emphasized" markup consistently with the semantics of "emphasis",
even though that emphasis is expressed differently in the specific
results they produce (bold display versus louder reading).  We wouldn't
have thought it very good if one of the programs interpreted the
"emphasized" markup by whispering the indicated words, even though it
would have been free to do that.  One of the purposes of the Semantic
Web is to be able to convey this sort of semantic information, and this
idea could be developed a bit, possibly using this example.  

2.  Another theme that needs a lot of development in our primer is
dealing with the "why not just use XML" argument (you mention that "RDF
gives you a way to make statements that are machine-processable", but of
course XML is machine-processable too, so we need to develop that idea
more specifically).  

3.  "...a vast influx of newbies from AOL..."  Restrain yourself!  :-)

4.  "While it's very difficult to create these proofs...it's very easy
to check them."  I keep hearing people say this, and I understand the
difference between creating the proof and checking it, but it seems to
me that checking the proof requires that I share and understand the
rules of inference used by the creator.  I.e., when the proof says,
"given A and B, C follows", I (or my software) must know enough to be
able to agree or disagree.  So a little more detail about the
assumptions would be helpful here.  


Aaron Swartz wrote:
> One possible starting point for our work on the primer might be
> this document I've put together:
> http://logicerror.com/semanticWeb-long

Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-8752
Received on Wednesday, 19 September 2001 11:15:47 UTC

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