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CODE4LIB  November 2013

CODE4LIB November 2013

Subject:

Re: rdf serialization

From:

Ross Singer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 5 Nov 2013 13:51:31 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (61 lines)

On Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 9:45 AM, Ed Summers <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Sun, Nov 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM, Eric Lease Morgan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > This is hard. The Semantic Web (and RDF) attempt at codifying knowledge
> using a strict syntax, specifically a strict syntax of triples. It is very
> difficult for humans to articulate knowledge, let alone codifying it. How
> realistic is the idea of the Semantic Web? I wonder this not because I
> donít think the technology can handle the problem. I say this because I
> think people canít (or have great difficulty) succinctly articulating
> knowledge. Or maybe knowledge does not fit into triples?
>
> I think you're right Eric. I don't think knowledge can be encoded
> completely in triples, any more than it can be encoded completely in
> finding aids or books.
>

Or... anything, honestly.  We're humans. Our understanding and perception
of the universe changes daily.  I don't think it's unreasonable to accept
that any description of the universe, input by a human, will reflect the
fundamental reality that was was encoded might be wrong.  I don't really
buy the argument that RDF is somehow less capable of "succinctly
articulating knowledge" compared to anything else.  "All models are wrong.
 Some are useful."

>
> One thing that I (naively) wasn't fully aware of when I started
> dabbling the Semantic Web and Linked Data is how much the technology
> is entangled with debates about the philosophy of language. These
> debates play out in a variety of ways, but most notably in
> disagreements about the nature of a resource (httpRange-14) in Web
> Architecture. Shameless plug: Dorothea Salo and I tried to write about
> how some of this impacts the domain of the library/archive [1].
>
> OTOH, schema.org doesn't concern itself at all with this dichotomy
(information vs. non-information resource) and I think that most (sane,
pragmatic) practitioners would consider that "linked data", as well.  Given
the fact that schema.org is so easily mapped to RDF, I think this argument
is going to be so polluted (if it isn't already) that it will eventually
have to evolve to a far less academic position.

One of the strengths of RDF is its notion of a data model that is
> behind the various serializations (xml, ntriples, json, n3, turtle,
> etc). I'm with Ross though: I find it much to read rdf as turtle or
> json-ld than it is rdf/xml.
>
> This is definitely where RDF outclasses almost every alternative*, because
each serialization (besides RDF/XML) works extremely well for specific
purposes:

Turtle is great for writing RDF (either to humans or computers) and being
able to understand what is being modeled.

n-triples/quads is great for sharing data in bulk.

json-ld is ideal for API responses, since the consumer doesn't have to know
anything about RDF to have a useful data object, but if they do, all the
better.

-Ross.
* Unless you're writing a parser, then having a kajillion serializations
seriously sucks.

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