W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-logic@w3.org > May 2001

Re: What do the ontologists want

From: Bill Andersen <andersen@ontologyworks.com>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 23:23:39 -0500
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
CC: Ziv Hellman <ziv@unicorn.com>, <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B728BC7B.B06%andersen@ontologyworks.com>
On 16.05.2001 22:22 Uhr, "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org> wrote:

> pat hayes wrote:
> [...]
>>      PS My apologies if this is leading too far from the original thread
>> Not at all: I think you have put your finger right on the button. There is a
>> mismatch between the reality and the rhetoric of RDF. As a general-purpose
>> graph-structure-encoding formalism, it is just fine. (It has a truly awful
>> surface syntax, but everyone agrees that is a crock and needs replacing.) But
>> it hasnt been sold as that: it has been sold as a universal
>> knowledge/information representation language, with a clear semantics which
>> is both utterly simple (relational triples) and simultaneously universal,
>> post-Goedelian, trans-Tarskian and magically universal, due to the Power of
>> Reification. That is why it is going to be the, I don't know, the magical
>> essence of the Semantic Web, and why W3C seems to be so committed to it.
> Oh for cryin out loud, Pat, just cut it out. Exactly
> who is taking that position? Cite sources or retract it.

  Here are some....

  1) http://www.w3.org/RDF/FAQ - RDF metadata can be used in a variety of
application areas; forexample: in resource discovery to provide better
search engine capabilities; in cataloging for describing the content and
content relationships available at a particular Web site, page, or digital
library; by intelligent software agents to facilitate knowledge sharing and
exchange; in content rating; in describing collections of pages that
represent a single logical "document"; for describing intellectual property
rights of Web pages, and in many others.

  2) http://www.xml.com/pub/a/98/06/rdf.html - [Bill: RDF as "fancy index"]
"This means that opinions, pointers, indexes, and anything that helps people
'look things up'. [Bill: RDF as "ontology" language?] "And even among people
who are sharing the use of metadata vocabularies, there's no need to share
the same software. RDF makes it possible to use multiple different pieces of
software to process the same metadata, and to use a single piece of software
to process (at least in part) many different metadata vocabularies."

  3) http://www.sciam.com/2001/0501issue/0501berners-lee.html - "In the next
step, the Semantic Web will break out of the virtual realm and extend into
our physical world. URIs can point to anything, including physical entities,
which means we can use the RDF language to describe devices such as cell
phones and TVs. Such devices can advertise their functionality‹what they can
do and how they are controlled‹much like software agents. Being much more
flexible than low-level schemes such as Universal Plug and Play, such a
semantic approach opens up a world of exciting possibilities."

  I'm sure Pat can come up with many others.  It's just not that hard.  So,
no need to retract...

  We always walk a fine line between building things that "work" and things
that are right (or even adequate).  I think Pat is arguing (in his own
lovable way) that the pendulum has swung too far.  Of course RDF will "work"
one way or another.  With all the hype and all the millions being thrown at
it, how can it not?  But that much volume only serves to drown out the
voices of those who know better.  Mob justice is no justice -- ten years
from now we'll go through this all over again when we find out that RDF
didn't "work" after all.


Bill Andersen
Chief Scientist, Ontology Works
1132 Annapolis Road, Suite 104
Odenton, Maryland, 21113
Mobile: 443-858-6444
Office: 410-674-7600
Received on Thursday, 17 May 2001 00:23:56 UTC

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