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RDF and XML

From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 12:42:18 -0400
Message-Id: <200005231640.MAA03292@hesketh.net>
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, xml-uri@w3.org
At 11:39 AM 5/23/00 -0500, Al Gilman wrote:
>What I would like to hear, here, is Simon's description of "what RDF is
>trying to do" that we could then test for consensus.  

This piece appears to define behavior - both with regard to absolutization and
schema retrieval - for namespace URIs.  The 'no further requirements' section
gives it a somewhat vague conclusion, but I think this expresses what RDF is
'trying to do' with regard to XML namespace URIs. 

From (apparently normative) Appendix C of the RDF Syntax REC:
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http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-rdf-syntax/#usage

C.2. Namespace URIs
RDF uses the proposed XML namespace mechanism to implement 
globally unique identifiers for all properties. In addition, 
the namespace name serves as the identifier for the corresponding 
RDF schema. The namespace name is resolved to absolute form as 
specified by the algorithm in Section 5.2., Resolving Relative 
References to Absolute Form, in [URI]. An RDF processor can expect 
to use the schema URI to access the schema content. This 
specification places no further requirements on the content 
that might be supplied at that URI, nor how (if at all) the 
URI might be modified to obtain alternate forms or a fragment 
of the schema.

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This bit might also be useful as a guide to how RDF understands resources, as
resource description is the larger part of what 'RDF is trying to do':

From (apparently normative) Appendix A of the RDF Syntax REC:
--------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-rdf-syntax/#glossary

Resource
An abstract object that represents either a physical object 
such as a person or a book or a conceptual object such as a 
color or the class of things that have colors. Web pages are 
usually considered to be physical objects, but the distinction 
between physical and conceptual or abstract objects is not 
important to RDF. A resource can also be a component of a 
larger object; for example, a resource can represent a 
specific person's left hand or a specific paragraph out of 
a document. As used in this specification, the term resource 
refers to the whole of an object if the URI does not contain 
a fragment (anchor) id or to the specific subunit named by 
the fragment or anchor id. 
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Finally, the W3C Metadata Activity Statement provides a more general (and
probably uncontroversial) statement of what RDF is up to:

-------------------------------------------------------
http://www.w3.org/Metadata/Activity.html

RDF is a declarative language and provides a standard way 
for using XML to represent metadata in the form of statements 
about properties and relationships of items on the Web. 
Such items, known as resources, can be almost anything, 
provided it has a Web address.

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Of these, I find only the first one directly relevant to the current
discussion, but while that practice (and the philosophy underlying it) seem
fine within the context of RDF, expanding their scope to XML seems
inappropriate.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth
http://www.simonstl.com
Received on Tuesday, 23 May 2000 12:40:56 UTC

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