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Re: Quick -comments summary upto and including 2003-02-13

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 13:05:47 -0500
Message-ID: <3E5BB07B.9EEFB729@mitre.org>
To: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
CC: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>, w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org

Graham Klyne wrote:
> At 11:08 AM 2/21/03 -0600, pat hayes wrote:
> >>Thanks Jan, great work again:
> >>
> >>At 11:42 14/02/2003 +0000, Jan Grant wrote:
> >>
> >>[...]
> >>
> >>>Bob MacGragor on Statings "Much ado about nothing"
> >>>
> >>>http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-comments/2003JanMar/0211.html
> >>>         Call to ditch semantics section 3.2.1. Maybe Brian should
> >>>         pick this up?
> >>
> >>This is a comment on the semantics doc, so I see it as Pat's bailiwick.
> >
> >I have replied to the original email and subsequent debate. If its
> >considered a Pat-editorial, then I propose to deny this request, end.
> >
> >However I thought it was best considered by the whole WG, if only briefly,
> >as there seems to have been quite a lot of headscratching and moaning
> >about this section.
> I agree.  I also am thinking that a number of comments of this kind arise
> because the formal semantics is very much not the whole story, and the
> RDFcore work is not the end of formal semantics in RDF.
> When reading some comments about Bags, etc, I got the feeling that we
> really do want to designate some vocabulary now with a clear
> informally-specified meaning so that people can use it.  At some point in
> the future, semantic extensions may formalize those meanings.
> RDF is part of an evolving framework, not an end in itself.  I happen to
> believe that the RDF core represents an important staging point of limited
> functionality:  it may be seriously incomplete as an agent or ontology
> language, but for many of the applications that motivated RDF (e.g. PICS),
> and others developed since (e.g. Dublin Core, CC/PP, Brian's P3P work,
> Patrick's OpenBook(?), etc.) I think it represents a very useful trade-off
> of functionality and complexity that meets some present
> requirements.  Therefore, I think the lack of formalizations for some
> aspects of RDF "meaning" is not an indication that RDF is seriously deficient.

It's also worthwhile noting that a number of existing applications are
happily using these "underspecified" bits of vocabulary, such as
containers, based on their informal meanings, to do useful work.  We
have at least one app in-house that is happily using reification in the
same way.  Without meaning to diminish the importance of formal
semantics for things, people do manage to successfully communicate
meanings in English sometimes (and incorporate it into their software).


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 Tuesday, 25 February 2003 13:05:59 UTC

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