Re: [on the value of RDF]

From: Dan Connolly (
Date: 01/10/01

"Peter F. Patel-Schneider" wrote:
> OK, OK, RDF does a fairly good job of turning syntax into triples (i.e., a
> graph).  But you know what?  I don't care at all about these triples!  As
> far as I am concerned, this could be Lists, or Sets, or just about
> anything.  I view this aspect of RDF as conceptuatlly no different from
> just about any mapping into just about any semi-structured data formalism.

I think RDF is interesting at this level in that URIs are
allowed as node labels.

> What I care about is the other part of RDF and RDFS (or, at least, what the
> other part should be).
> I care about sequences, sets, bags, and alternatives.
> I care about non-ground statements.
> I care about reification (really, I do) and higher-order and modal constructs.
> I care about type theories with type hierarchies and defined types.
> I care about lots of other related notions.
> RDF and RDFS provide me absolutely nothing for any of these,

Really? Not even an introduction to the Web community about why
they're important?

> because they
> provide me with nothing more than a mapping into triples---no domain
> theory, no axiomatization, not even a decent informal description---for the
> meaning of any of these things.

Suppose I agreed that RDF is horrible. What then?
What do you suggest instead? We'd have to build
another semistructured data formalism with
XML and URI integration, no? (if not XML and URIs,
I don't think it's of much interest to W3C.) Is
that what you want to do? Are you really sure
we'd get something _that_ much better than
RDF if we started over now?

I'm all for healthy criticism combined with constructive
suggested alternatives. But I don't see your suggestions.

Dan Connolly, W3C

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