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Outside our charter, was: Schema LCC review

From: Jan Grant <Jan.Grant@bristol.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 11:34:57 +0000 (GMT)
To: Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
cc: RDFCore Working Group <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.44.0301151121180.21522-100000@mail.ilrt.bris.ac.uk>

On Wed, 15 Jan 2003, Brian McBride wrote:

> At 12:03 14/01/2003 +0000, Jan Grant wrote:

> >5.4.1 rdfs:seeAlso
> >
> >You carefully don't say much here, which is good. However, I think this
> >raises an issue which we should address (even if it's to punt) before or
> >as part of LC:
> >
> >         If a resource is named by something that looks like a URI,
> >         then what expectations can we have about that? If we (through
> >         some process) dereference that URI, what can we expect to
> >         see? Ie, is there any expectation (and if so, when) that
> >         the use of a web address to name something means that we
> >         can get a description of the named thing by dereferencing that
> >         address? Or does the web address name the description
> >         itself?
> We are going nowhere near that.  Way outside our charter.

Look at the second sentence of the primer abstract. "[RDF] is
particularly intended for representing metadata about Web resources,
such as the title, author, and modification date of a Web page,
copyright and licensing information about a Web document, or the
availability schedule for some shared resource."

BUT throughout all our LCC documents, we repeatedly say that, as far as
RDF is concerned, there is nothing apart from an accidental relationship
between a URIref used to denote a resource in RDF and what the web
considers to be named (or addressed) by that URIref. That is, that RDF
is agnostic about any such relationship.

Yet many of our examples and text gives the lie to this. It's clear also
that WG members seem to think that there's more going on. Paraphrasing
DanC from a recent telecon: "that [URIref used to name a test case]
404's, that's no good, that must be fixed." Yet _nothing_ in the RDF
documents we've produced supports DanC's position on this. In fact,
Appendix A of the primer explicitly shoots it down.

OK, you might rule this outside our charter. But if RDF forms the bottom
layer of the semantic _web_, where does the responsibility for answering
this lie? At some higher level?

It seems that in RDF in the wild, sometimes a URIref-labelled resource
is used to denote a thing that you can get a description about using
that name as a web address. Sometimes it denotes the description itself.
And sometimes it denotes something else entirely. But there's no
mechanism or machinery to support this, and the issue is rarely even

If it's not RDFCore's job, then it's certainly a TAG job, and I would
hope that this issue can be raised as a matter of priority. There's a
tech plenary coming up soon - maybe there?

Please consider this a last call comment (in advance). We currently
don't stay silent on this, we instead say "it's not our job". That
answer doesn't suffice - it needs to identify _whose_ job it is to
provide an answer on this.


jan grant, ILRT, University of Bristol. http://www.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/
Tel +44(0)117 9287088 Fax +44 (0)117 9287112 http://ioctl.org/jan/
Semantic rules, OK?
Received on Wednesday, 15 January 2003 06:36:58 UTC

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