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Re: Outline for new RDF document

From: Graham Klyne <Graham.Klyne@MIMEsweeper.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 15:11:38 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Cc: Jeremy Carroll <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org

At 08:36 AM 6/24/02 -0400, Frank Manola wrote:
>I don't necessarily have any objections to what you propose, but it would 
>help a lot if you could consider what is now in the Primer, or already 
>targeted for the Primer, and suggest how you think these proposals ought 
>to affect the Primer, when considering these things. For example:
>a.  the Primer already has text on containers
>b.  the Primer already has a fair bit of text on schema
>c.  the Primer already has a section (yet to be filled in) on reification
>d.  the WG said it wanted something in the Primer to explain rdf:value
>I'm starting to "lose state" as to how this new document and the Primer 
>relate to each other.  In any event, let's try to address potential 
>overlap up front.

I agree that we want to avoid overlap.  I see the new document as focusing 
on being about "what" RDF expressions mean, where the primer focuses more 
on "how to" use RDF.  Also, I think the Primer should focus mainly on the 
features of RDF that we expect to be commonly used:  to convey a solid 
understanding of the RDF features that the majority of users will need to 

I'm pushing to move quickly on the new document, to catch up with the state 
of the others ASAP, so some of the details aren't completely finalized at 
this time.  Thanks for bringing up these specific points (my answers below).

>PS:  Just to head off this answer, I don't think a idea like "the new 
>document has informal but normative text while the Primer has 
>non-normative text" is a reasonable distinction to make if there is going 
>to be a lot of overlap in the coverage of the two documents, since that 
>would leave us with a given issue being covered by text that is 
>[formal,normative], [informal,normative], and [informal,non-normative], 
>which sounds a tad dangerous.  I thought the reason why people wanted the 
>Primer to be non-normative in the first place was because the text was 

No doubt Jeremy will answer for himself, but I thought that what he meant 
by "informal" was "non-mathematical" -- or a formal prose 
specification.  That is short, terse text focusing on what the vocabulary 
is intended to mean rather than how to use it.

With respect to your points:

>a.  the Primer already has text on containers
>b.  the Primer already has a fair bit of text on schema
>c.  the Primer already has a section (yet to be filled in) on reification
>d.  the WG said it wanted something in the Primer to explain rdf:value

I personally think the explanatory text about (a) and (b) will continue to 
have a place in the Primer, and that any text in the new document should be 
kept very tight.  I think item (c) doesn't really belong in the Primer 
according to my understanding of its primary purpose.  As for item (d), I 
think it comes down to the group's decision about what to do with rdf:value 
-- if it has a central place in RDF usage, then the primer should have some 
coverage.  Otherwise, I'd advocate dropping it from the Primer.  Currently, 
the situation seems to be the latter.

>Jeremy Carroll wrote:
>>I have been reviewing M&S to see which parts of it are:
>>- not currently in any of our new specs
>>- have not been decided to be dropped
>>These sections appear to be candidates for inclusion in the new top-level
>>document, fulfilling its dustbin role.
>>The main content is to do with vocabulary, particularly:
>>- containers
>>- reification
>>- rdf:value
>>I understand that we are maintaining M&S containers but without formal
>>semantic support and hence somewhere we need informal but normative text
>>corresponding to para 90.
>>I understand that we are maintaining reification but clarifying it as
>>supporting the provenance use case (and hence 'stating' rather than
>>'statement'). As such text corresponding to M&S section 4 is needed - (all
>>subject to complete rewrite).
>>I do not understand what we are doing with rdf:value, but there is a lot of
>>legacy which is based on stuff written in M&S and we should, IMO, carry some
>>of that text forward even if we deprecate it.
>>e.g. show some of the use cases.
>>While this stuff might belong in the schema specification, the current
>>schema draft appears to want to be very conservative and not suggest
>>semantics that are not in the model theory.
>>Assuming that we do want to carry such intent from M&S forward, and that the
>>new document is the right home for that intent, then Graham and I were
>>thinking of putting it within the document structure as follows (section 5):
>>1. Introduction
>>2. RDF overview
>>* as before *
>>3. RDF specification
>>3.1 - 3.4
>>3.5 RDF vocabulary definitions
>>3.5.1 RDF defined vocabulary terms
>>pointer to section 5
>>3.6 RDF datatyping
>>3.7 Test cases
>>3.8 Primer
>>4. RDF Graphs
>>* text more or less as already suggested
>>on formal definition of RDF graph *
>>5. Informal Semantics of Some RDF Vocabulary
>>5.1 Containers
>>5.2 Reification
>>5.3 rdf:value
>>6. Additional technical considerations
>>6.1 Internationalization
>>6.2 Character normalization
>>6.3 Conformance
>>6.4 RDF in HTML
>>7. Acknowledgments
>>8. References
>Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
>202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
>mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-875

Graham Klyne
Received on Monday, 24 June 2002 10:24:25 UTC

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