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RE: What do the ontologists want

From: Ziv Hellman <ziv@unicorn.com>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 18:47:30 +0200
Message-ID: <6194CD944604E94EB76F9A1A6D0EDD230E5459@calvin.unicorn.co.il>
To: <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>
At the recently conducted conference in Hong Kong, I was puzzled by the
fact that in all the official SW sessions RDF was being pushed almost as
the completed essence of the Semantic Web itself, whilst the many
difficulties in RDF's capacities -- which numerous of the participants
were surely aware of through these threads and other forums -- were
never really aired.

In informal corridor discussions with some of the individuals heavily
involved in the ontology community, it was explained to me that they
regard RDF simply as a tool for expressing graph relations -- i.e. the
triples encode nodes and the arcs between them -- without any of the
other promised capabilities, whether they be semantic, model-theoretic,
reification, and so forth. No less and no more. 

If this is indeed the only "real" use the ontologists are intending for
RDF, perhaps the question of whether RDF is an efficient mechanism for
that purpose as well might deserve some discussion.



PS My apologies if this is leading too far from the original thread

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charles F. Munat [mailto:chas@munat.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 5:01 PM
> To: www-rdf-logic@w3.org
> Subject: RE: What do the ontologists want
> Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
> The basic complaint of the first group is that people in the 
> second group
> are going beyond what RDF is capable of.  People in the 
> second group use
> the reification syntax, but have some extra meaning for it that is not
> shared by all interested in RDF.  It is the contention of the 
> first group
> that the use of these extra meanings make RDF no longer be a true
> representation language, and thus ill suited for representing 
> information
> in the WWW.
> Reply:
> Yes, that is pretty clear from the discussion. Also clear is 
> that it isn't
> going anywhere anytime soon.
> Is there a document somewhere that explains the limitations 
> (clearly) of RDF
> according to the first group? In other words, could I start 
> using RDF, limit
> myself to the sorts of uses that the first group approves of, 
> and avoid
> controversy while the second group makes its case?
> I'm just trying to pull something out of this that I can use 
> right now while
> people who know a lot more than I do put together a "version 
> 2" to solve
> these other problems.
> Any help appreciated...
> Sincerely,
> Charles F. Munat
> Seattle, Washington
Received on Wednesday, 16 May 2001 11:48:21 UTC

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