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Re: A modest proposal for reforming RDF

From: Drew McDermott <drew.mcdermott@yale.edu>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 11:38:58 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <200012181638.LAA12723@mr1.its.yale.edu>
To: connolly@w3.org
CC: www-rdf-logic@w3.org

   From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>

   I don't really see what your language has to do with RDF, if you're
   not serializing a graph.

   Serializing a graph is what RDF is all about; semistructured data,
   graph merging, all that.

   It's reasonable to conclude, after the sort of investigation that
   we've been doing, that trying to shoehorn logical formulas
   into RDF is a losing game, and take some different approach
   such as yours. But I wouldn't call that "reforming RDF";
   I'd just call it a new language.

I guess I've been misled by this paragraph in the RDF document:

  The broad goal of RDF is to define a mechanism for describing
  resources that makes no assumptions about a particular application
  domain, nor defines (a priori) the semantics of any application
  domain. The definition of the mechanism should be domain neutral, yet
  the mechanism should be suitable for describing information about any

It's not obvious that serializing graphs is a key goal.

Howeve, you're right that it's reasonable to have a way of serializing
graphs in XML.  I would expect such a serialization technique to
address issues such as distinguishing between directed and
undirected graphs, making it clear when more than one edge is allowed
between two nodes, keeping track of cycles or declaring their absence,
etc.  I wouldn't expect it to have something like rdf:Alt, whose
meaning depends on interpreting subgraphs as having truth values.  But
perhaps RDF will evolve toward a true graph-serialization language.
(An interesting goal might be to express an arbitrary Java object in
RDF.  That would seem like a good candidate for a graph for which the
issue of the truth value of subgraphs doesn't come up.)

In the meantime, it seems to me there is a need for an XML-based
notation for logical statements.  I don't think it needs to look
radically different from RDF, but it does need to give up the graph

                                             -- Drew McDermott
Received on Monday, 18 December 2000 11:39:04 UTC

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