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normativity in the RDF document suite

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 14:33:33 -0600
Message-Id: <p06001f0ebc484e42c183@[]>
To: Eric Miller <em@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org, Brian_McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Eric, Brian suggests that we can sort this out without a telecon.

The boilerplate in the publication drafts of the docs lists 6 
documents and refers to them as a single suite of related documents. 
The same boilerplate occurs in them all, and it says of each one that 
it is normative. All of which would be fine, except that the WG a 
while ago decided that the Primer and Vocabulary documents were less 
normative than the others, and the citations in all of the documents 
treat those two as informative references.   (This decision for 
Vocabulary is recorded at 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-rdfcore-wg/2003Jul/0236 . I 
can't locate the decision for the Primer, sorry.)

Maybe this makes sense - there could be a distinction between a 
document which is normative sui generis, and a normatively-inclined 
reference from one document to another - but I suspect it will be 
found confusing to readers, and that everything would be a lot 
clearer if the assignment of normativity in the document preambles, 
and those in the references, were brought into line with one another.

One way to do this would be to have two versions of the boilerplate, 
one for the 4  normative documents and a different one, which makes 
to reference to normativity (eg does not say that the English version 
is the only normative version) for the other two.

Another way to do it would be to say that all the documents are 
uniformly normative, with a common boilerplate, and to adjust the 
references sections so that references to Primer and Vocabulary are 
all moved from Informative to Normative. However, I think this change 
might need the approval of the WG, or at least the editors.


Actually, now I check the documents, they are not at all consistent 
about what is a normative reference and what is informative.  Each 
column of the following table indicates a citation as Informative or 
Normative by the document named at the start of the row:

DOCUMENT      Primer   Concepts   Syntax   Semantics  Vocabulary  Test Cases
Primer          -          N         N          N         N          N
Concepts        I          -         N          N         I          I
Syntax          I          N         -          I         I          N
Semantics       I          N         N          -         I          N
Vocabulary      I          N         N          N         -          N
Test Cases      I          N         N          N         I          -

 From which it appears that the Primer is suitably fawning towards all 
the other documents, even to Vocabulary; that Syntax and Concepts 
have a slightly jaundiced views of Semantics and Test Cases 
respectively:  but that otherwise, they seem to largely agree that 
Primer and Vocabulary are informative and the others are normative.

I leave all the decisions to you, but (1) I think we should do 
SOMETHING to rationalize this, and (2) I'm willing to help in any way 
that I can.

My own preference, for what its worth, would be to say that 
Vocabulary at least should be a normative document, and appropriate 
changes made to the references in the other documents. I can see no 
rational reason for it not to be.  The above table should then have 
I's in the first column and N's or blanks everywhere else, requiring 
edits to the references sections of Concepts, Syntax, Semantics and 
Test Cases; and the Primer boilerplate would have the sentences 
referring to normativity deleted.


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Received on Thursday, 5 February 2004 15:33:48 UTC

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