Re: issue 5.10: a position statement

In response to Dan's statement on his view of OWL, here is my view on RDF.

WARNING:  The following message contains strong language and graphic
	  positions. :-)

RDF is uninteresting, to me, on its own.

RDF is only interesting inasmuch as it facilities progress in one of two
1/ allowing XML data to be used in the Semantic Web, by providing an
XML-compatible meaning for XML documents that can then be used in the
Semantic Web;
2/ building the interesting parts of the Semantic Web, by providing a
simple underpinning for the other Semantic Web formalisms.

If RDF cannot handle almost all XML documents or understand XML Schemas,
then the first reason for RDF is gone.  If the use of RDF in the Semantic
Web is so restricted that other formalisms cannot be built on top of it,
then the second reason for RDF is gone.

Meanwhile, I firmly believe that this sort of debate is precisely what this
working group needs to make any significant progress.  If the positions of
the working group members are not spelled out, and debated, then the
working group will continue to nibble around the edges and never make any
progress with the difficult problems.  If it turns out that the positions
of the working group members are irreconcilable then it is better to know
this now rather than later.

There are already lots of test cases that have been brought forward to show
what is needed in the higher levels of the Semantic Web.  On the ontology
level John belonging to Student and Employee entailing John belongs to
Employee and Student is a good example, but there are many others.  On the
logic level A or B entailing B or A is a good example.

Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research

Received on Friday, 19 July 2002 07:16:17 UTC