Re: RDF for 12 year olds was Re: A discussion: Is semantic web an old fashioned idea? Is it bubble, unworthy or an interesting research area - Post your comments

Adam Souzis wrote:

> Mazzilli, Rodrigo wrote:
>> 1.0 was probably not the best hypertext markup language we could have
>> invented but it was simple and straightforward! Even a 12-year-old child
>> could understand it and (boom!) suddenly everyone was writing web pages.
> Is the same level of simplicity possible for the SemWeb?

In a word, I'd say yes. But I think we need to be careful about the 
distinction between SemWeb The Vision and the technologies, as people's 
responses to these can be diametrically opposed. Personally I got 
interested because RDF seemed to offer a nice route to categorization 
that XML didn't seem to cover very well. Although I'd have been 
receptive to the vision (and was a big fan of AI!), the immediate, 
practical use was what appealed to me.

I'm still a bit bipolar on the "View Source" aspect, which certainly did 
help with HTML, but I'm not convinced works so well with RDF syntaxes 
(or XHTML+CSS for that matter).

Regarding 12 year olds, I think they would be receptive to the basic 
idea of "describing stuff" and the taxonomies, perhaps less so with 
ontologies, joining the descriptions together and (waaah!) Description 
Logics. For general adoption, I reckoned there's a lot can be gained 
from specific applications that are designed directly for the end user - 
Semaview's smart PIM material hits a good spot, and Storymill's approach 
is marvellous, check the graphics here:

> I think we better try to make it so if it is to catch on. If people 
> ad-hocly agree to particular vocabularies and unique names i think 
> we're 85% there. As the back-end state of the art advances I don't 
> even think people need to be particular precise or accurate in their 
> usage.

Yep, getting started is the main thing, whatever precision is needed can 
come later.

> I think its easy to forget how abstract and complex SemWeb technology 
> appears to the vast majority of developers, even those that have built 
> successful web applications.

Heh, developers are a class all of there own. I think one huge obstacle 
there is prejudice (in a very general sense) - things like HTML, XML and 
RDBMSs are familiar, and appear to provide solutions, so why bother with 
something that appears complex and doesn't (yet) appear to solve 
problems? What's more, getting the SemWeb ideas across is one thing, 
demonstrating their utility another. Take this remarkable statement from 
Dare Obasanjo (XML Schemas guy at Microsoft):
It seems that the point being argued is that with RDF you can get more 
understanding of the information in the document than with just XML. 
Being that one could consider RDF as just a logical model layered on top 
of an XML document (e.g. RDF/XML) I find it hard to understand how 
viewing some XML document through RDF colored glasses buys one so much 
more understanding of the data.

> Here's my attempt to explain RDF to novices:

Looking good. I can vouch for it not being easy to explain, however 
simple are the basics. fwiw, here's my 500 word version of RDF:

Probably the best intros I've seen so far are  Semaview's posters ("The 
Semantic Web Explained 
<>" and "RDF 
and XML <>" 
taken together).

(Someone else has done a similar style poster featuring the use of a 
specific vocabulary - I can't remember where I saw it, but that included 
code along with the graphics and still worked).

> and a wiki-like text format for RDF also geared to novices:
> However, since you don't "waste your time" investigating non-W3C 
> compliant representations, you should ignore this message.

I'd be happier wasting my time with it if you provided a one-click 
conversion => RDF/XML ;-)

>> For instance, ontologies available today differ very much in format.
>> Some have plain XML+Namespaces, some plain text file, some DAML, some
>> RDF and some OWL and many more.

A fair point, but it shouldn't be a problem RDF/XML should always be 
available as a standard format in addition to whatever else is used.

>> Personally I don't waste my time investigating representations or
>> implementations which are not W3C compliant, which I consider THE
>> authority in Semweb efforts.

Hmm, a little strong methinks - those representations etc only became 
authoritative because people did waste a lot of time investigating them.




Received on Thursday, 17 June 2004 06:25:04 UTC