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Re: application/rdf+xml type and assertions

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 11:35:12 -0500
To: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Cc: www-rdf-comments@w3.org
Message-ID: <20040322163512.GG19972@markbaker.ca>

Hi Graham,

On Mon, Mar 22, 2004 at 10:13:34AM +0000, Graham Klyne wrote:
> With respect to your comments on the application/rdf+xml MIME type
> registration, I note that we've exchanged many relevant ideas, but don't
> seem to be moving toward any resolution.  Let me see I can summarize the
> current position in terms that we can both agree:

I think the discussion between Pat and myself definitely moved things
forward.  Though how far we are from a resolution, I don't know.

> - making assertions about the world is an important feature of the way we
> expect RDF to be used, which sets it apart from many other data formats.
> - this assertional _use_ of RDF is not fully covered by the current
> published RDF specification, though the specifications do fully describe
> the purely technical aspects of RDF assertions in terms of a formal model
> theory [1].
> - the RDFcore working group did try to address the matter of specifiying
> that RDF documents are used to make assertions about the real world, but
> were unable to achieve a widely accepted consensus, and did recommend that
> a task force be set up to make further progress on it [2].
> - a meeting of many interested parties [3] was held as part of the 2003
> technical plenary, where it was agreed that the then-current text be removed
> from the RDF technical specifications
> - the Semantic Web coordination group did respond to RDFcore's request, and
> have raised this as an issue with the TAG [4], and set up a task force and
> mailing list to progress this matter [5][6].
> I trust that there is nothing above with which you disagree, and that you
> can see that RDFcore have devoted considerable attention to this issue.  By
> way of a cross-check of some relevant facts, you may like to consult Dan
> Connolly's summary to the TAG [8].

That's a good summary.

> I would further make a couple of personal observations, but defer to the
> Working Group chair or W3C staff contact for a definitive statement:
> - the main purpose of a MIME type registration is to link the MIME type
> name to its specification;  it is not the role of the registration to
> override or modify the actual data format specification in any way.  As
> such, registration is an administrative procedure, not a process of
> technical specification.
> - given the amount of attention that this matter has received through the
> normal W3C process of creating the RDF technical specifications, I think
> it's rather inappropriate to attempt to use the MIME type registration to
> modify the working group's express decision.  I submit that the appropriate
> way forward is to engage with the task force [5][6] that has been set up
> for purpose of finding an acceptable resolution of this matter.
> Accordingly, my recommendation to the RDFcore working group is to request
> the IESG to approve the MIME type registration, along with informational
> RFC publication of the registration template [7], for which I understand
> that no IETF last call is required.

I respectfully disagree.  I think this is one of those cases where being
ambiguous is worse than saying something which might be wrong.  My
recommendation would be to suspend the registration process until the
task force makes their decision.

I'll catch up with the work of the task force though, and see if I can't
make my case there.  But I can't support the current media type
registration draft as-is.

Mark Baker.   Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.        http://www.markbaker.ca
Received on Monday, 22 March 2004 11:30:36 UTC

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