Re: [on the value of RDF]

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider (
Date: 01/10/01

From: Dan Connolly <>
Subject: Re: [on the value of RDF]
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 15:18:52 -0600

> "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" wrote:
> > [...]
> > 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?

Not really, and in any case that doesn't provide anything to me, except
perhaps as it might raise the general level of knowledge of the web

> > 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

As a modest proposal, how about building on XML itself?  It has a data
model.  We could specify DAML+OIL directly on top of XML.  (Hmm, this is
starting to look a lot like what was done with OIL.)

Perhaps the biggest problem that I have with RDF is that I don't see what
good it provides over XML, and I certainly don't see that its benefits
outweigh its drawbacks.  I even don't understand what problem it is trying
to solve.  Of course, this makes it rather hard to provide a ``fixed''
version of RDF.

However, I am willing to live with RDF, and even to not complain (much), as
I to understand that RDF exists, and (perhaps) something that exists is
better than something that doesn't exist.  I just would like to have some
understanding of the role RDF is supposed to play, particularly over a
direct layering on XML.


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