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Some (more) thoughts on literals and language and XML

From: Graham Klyne <gk@ninebynine.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 13:06:33 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org


I think that many of our ongoing difficulties stem from the introduction of 
the XML datatyped literals without any real consensus as to what these 
actually are.  I, for one, didn't fully recognize this lack of consensus 
until Pat's posting [1] on the matter.  (I think the signs were previously 
there to see -- e.g. in the discussion and uncertainty about XSD datatypes 
-- but I for one failed to do so.)

If this is so, then I think Patrick's (first) proposal [2] has an important 
point in its favour:  it excises the feature for which there is lacking 
consensus.  In so doing, considering Martin's response [3] to my earlier 
message [4], I think it also satisfies the essential I18N requirements, in 
that it removes any artificial distinction between literals with markup and 
literals without markup, and allows either to carry a language tag.  (I 
note, en passant, that my message [4] was stated conditionally, not as an 
absolute position in its own right.)

Conversely, I think that Patrick's second proposal [5] is a step in 
entirely the wrong direction because it introduces a new concept of XML 
literals, and I'm not convinced we would find any more consensus about that 
than we would have about XML datatyped literals.

Finally, I observe that dropping XML literals from the RDF specification 
does not preclude the later introduction of XML literals as currently 
defined -- they are simply another datatype.  The difference would be that 
said datatype is not automatically signalled by the presence of 

My general thrust is this:  can we resolve this issue by removing features 
rather than by juggling with what appears to be a problematic confluence of 


[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-rdfcore-wg/2003Jul/0067.html

[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-rdfcore-wg/2003Jul/0131.html

[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-rdfcore-wg/2003Jul/0124.html

[4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-rdfcore-wg/2003Jul/0117.html

[5] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-rdfcore-wg/2003Jul/0151.html

Graham Klyne
PGP: 0FAA 69FF C083 000B A2E9  A131 01B9 1C7A DBCA CB5E
Received on Friday, 11 July 2003 08:13:45 UTC

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