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Re: generic XML to RDF triple mapping

From: Dan Brickley <Daniel.Brickley@bristol.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 14:47:03 +0100 (BST)
To: Graham Klyne <GK@Dial.pipex.com>
cc: James Tauber <JTauber@bowstreet.com>, "'www-rdf-interest@w3.org'" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GHP.4.21.0009111440360.20495-100000@mail.ilrt.bris.ac.uk>
On Mon, 11 Sep 2000, Graham Klyne wrote:

> At 05:57 AM 9/8/00 -0400, James Tauber wrote:
> >I believe that it should be possible to map arbitrary XML into RDF triples.
> Accepting that your idea has merit, I'd like to raise an issue of possible 
> concern:
> XML has a richer lexical structure than RDF, which is significant to XMLs 
> heritage in evolving from document markup languages.  To name two:  the 
> distinction between elements and attributes, and the significance of 
> element order.
> IMO, one of RDF's strengths as a _semantic markup_ language is that it 
> omits most of that lexical complexity to focus on semantic issues in graph 
> form.
> My concern is that a mechanism for translating arbitrary XML to RDF would 
> have to import the lexical XML structure into the RDF model, even though in 
> many cases this would not be semantically significant.  A generic mapping 
> could not possibly know what is and is not significant.


Hi Graham,

I share your bias towards using RDF as a more abstract, normalised
represent of the facts we exchange in numerous ways. The notion of a
"generic" XML-to-RDF transform sometimes gets overloaded. I do see some
merit in having a nodes'n'arcs view of the XML Infoset, but (like
you) see more merit in having an RDF view of the application data
structures we see transported in 'colloquial xml' (rather than an RDF
view of the way they happen to be XMLized).
I tried to characterise this with reference to the Cambridge Communique
in saturday's msg: 

	The thing that we need to be most careful about is talk of turning
	'any arbitrary XML into RDF', as if there were a sole, simple answer to
	this challenge. ('Colloquial XML' is one phrase I've heard used btw).
	I can think of lots of RDF-ifications of any chunk of 'colloquial'
	XML. In
	particular, two broad categories: one where we reflect infoset
	constructs directly into RDF, another where we reflect the
	XML-encoded "application data structures" into RDF without preserving
	details of that encoding.

Does some such distinction help at all? Both are good things to aim for,
but confusing them endangers both efforts...


ps. I agree about 'model' being overloaded 
Received on Monday, 11 September 2000 09:47:13 UTC

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