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Re: silly question about rdf:about

From: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
Date: Sun, 07 Apr 2002 10:50:41 -0600
Message-Id: <200204071650.g37Gofe01672@localhost.localdomain>
To: "Nikita Ogievetsky" <nogievet@cogx.com>
cc: "Seth Russell" <seth@robustai.net>, www-rdf-interest@w3.org, "Sandro Hawke" <sandro@w3.org>
> Well... let me jump on this...
> This is actually exactly what Topic Maps are doing.
> At Extreme 2001 [1] and KT2002 [2] conferences
> I presented some steps towards the RDF representation for Topic Maps.
> In particular, proposed RDF Topic Maps Schema
> has two daml:UnambiguousProperty sub-properties:
> rtm:indicatedBy and rtm:constitutedBy
> (see slide http://www.cogx.com/kt2002#slide16)
> The object of rtm:indicatedBy property INDICATES the subject.
> For example, http://www.cogx.com/kt2002 can be used to indicate the notion
> of Quantum Topic Maps (QTM),
> QTM is one of Topic Maps representations.
> Or in N3:
> :QTM rtm:/indicatedBy http://www.cogx.com/kt2002; :representationOf
> :TopicMaps.
> and the object of rtm:constitutedBy property CONSTITUTES the subject
> For example you can say that html page at http://www.cogx.com/kt2002 has a
> pink background:
> :myPresentation rtm:/constitutedBy http://www.cogx.com/kt2002;
> :hasBackground :pink.

And let me re-iterate that I disagree with this.  Eric Prud'hommeaux said the 
same thing, so I'm rather frightened a practice of this might be forming.

The straw man is that RDF uses http://uche.ogbuji.net to represent the person 
"Uche Ogbuji".  All the discussion about "published subjects", and odd tricks 
with unambiguousProperty seem to be solutions to this supposed problem.

But I don't see why anyone thinks that RDF says http://uche.ogbuji.net *is* 
the person.  I also don't see what is special about a published subject 
identifier that makes it an acceptable stand-in for the person.

If enough people agree that urn:folks:uche.ogbuji.net is an acceptable 
published subject identifer for "Uche Ogbuji", then they have already done all 
the work RDF needs to take advantage of this in description of the person.

I don't see that Topic Maps gains anything with this built-in indirection, 
except one of the most complex data models I have ever seen for a description 
language (puts CIM to shame, I must say).

This is *not* a flame on Topic Maps.  TM has things that RDF desperately 
needs, such as scopes and merging, but I don't think that the 
subject/occurrence (or whatever) distinction is one of the things RDF needs.

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 720 320 2046
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com 
4735 East Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
XML strategy, XML tools (http://4Suite.org), knowledge management
Track chair, XML/Web Services One (San Jose, Boston): 
Received on Sunday, 7 April 2002 12:51:39 UTC

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