W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > September 2001

Re: Something Different

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean@mysterylights.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2001 01:18:14 +0100
Message-ID: <014d01c1340e$0a3c6040$6dda93c3@y0r1d9>
To: "Mark Brownell" <gizmotron@earthlink.net>
Cc: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Hi there,

> Oh boy! I knew this was going to be fun.

You may well be right...

> What I mean is I would like to have a RSS/RDF/Dublin Core
> standard for my experimental project that is placed in the <head>
> portion of a plain HTML document.

I presume you saw my little hack for achieving this that I sent to this
list a couple of days ago?


It's not the only time it's been done; Dan Connolly has made a couple of
attempts at defining a method for embedding metadata in XHTML in such a way
as to be scraped into RDF:-


Dan Brickley and Rael Dornfest also set up a service that extracts RSS from


Plus, DanC's "XSLT for screen-scraping RDF out of real-world data" is quite


Murray Altheim and I also started work on a draft entitled "Augmented
Metadata in XHTML" (the status of which I'm not sure: reference available
by request). Further to that, the Dublin Core people have been working
carefully on trying to encode Dublin Core in XHTML, e.g.:-


which I'm not all that happy with (although I don't complain, because they
use '<meta name="DC.Creator" content="Simpson, Homer">' as an example,
which kicks-ass).

So these projects aren't unique. None of them appear to be being
implemented regularly by people other than the authors of the mechanisms
themselves (correct me if I'm wrong). I'm more looking forward to XHTML
2.0, which should have state-of-the-art metadata facilities, but that's
going to take a long time before it gets to recommendation. I'm working on
a couple of generic XML content languages myself (one co-developed with
Aaron Swartz) which also allow for scoped metadata that can be easily
transformed into RDF.

> What I mean is simple XML elements, (no attributes, namespaces),
> that are natural language in their use.

I doubt the benefits of marking up text with arbitrary elements that are
undefined in any way. Might be fun to play around with, but I don't think
it has any serious value. What wold you *do* with it?

> I guess that if my experiment is considered far out then I would
> at least want it to have the correct RDF Dublin Core that will be
> in the main stream.

At the moment there is no such thing as "correct". You have a choice
between "pedantic", "unimplemented", "unimplementable", "wacky", and
"wrong" :-)

> I'm working on this to de-densify it as I develop it. I'm glad
> that I passed under the radar screen enough to miss being hit
> by a pejorative.

You're not back at base yet... :-)

> Now for the fun stuff. The enhancement to the HTML, that I mentioned, is
> something I call Meaningful Text Markup Language. It is a natural
> language way of adding handles to the text found in HTML pages, [...]

I've been through it. Perhaps you'd be interested in the HumanMarkup [1]
stuff, which seems just about as daft an idea as this (for some level of
"daft" which the reader can qualify).

I like this bit in the MTML tutorial that starts:-

   "Have you ever gone to the index of a book, and found several
   possible references to what you were looking for?"

That's a neat little thing, if it works. However, the "natural language"
aspect of MTML and the lack of specifications makes me wonder if a version
drafted properly in XML etc. might be more beneficial.

Unfortunately, you appear to be walking in the mire 'twixt documents and
data, and that's a rather boggy place to walk through. In those situations,
"getting it done" soemtimes takes precedence over "getting it done right".

[1] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/humanmarkup/

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
@prefix : <http://webns.net/roughterms/> .
:Sean :hasHomepage <http://purl.org/net/sbp/> .
Received on Sunday, 2 September 2001 20:18:53 UTC

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