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Dan’s Questions

So Dan Chudnov’s been digging into RDF and the semantic web, and posts of few of the questions he’s collected. I’ll answer at least some of them below, though I (still) don’t really consider myself an expert.

  • I have never understood FOAF. It seems like a fine way to serialize a cult-of-personality network (e.g. “see? i’m only two steps from timbl himself!!”) Similarly I don’t get the whole “social graph” buzz either. I’m not a marketer looking to harvest customer data. I’m not doing any affinity indexing just now. What other use is there for saying who my friends are, besides those two?
    I’m actually not that interested in the foaf:knows property. That seems less immediately useful than being able to describe, say, the kind of data in my CV: who I am, my bio info, publications, and maybe also more specific kinds of relations with other people (say collaborators?). I see FOAF as a simpler RDF version of the sort of thing MADS does. Reminds me: I need to update mine!
  • Does the linked data movement really depend upon RDF? It doesn’t seem like it has to. Maybe it could grow faster if it didn’t.
    Let’s turn the question around and ask: if not RDF, then what? You definitely need some model on which to base it, it seems to me, and things like GRDDL, microformats, etc. leave a lot of flexibility on the encoding end. The key for linked data is really the URI, of course, which becomes kind of like a key for a global database.
  • If blank nodes are bad (end of the section), how do I represent sets of literals that mean the same thing but are expressed in different languages? I need to do that right now and I can’t figure out how without blank nodes.
    What’s wrong with multiple literals, each with a language tag?
  • I’m still mainly interested in Description (talking about things) and am completely disinterested in modeling knowledge (what things are and mean) and seem to keep finding examples where arguments about best practices hinge on notions of essential truths …
    You totally lost me on this one Dan!
  • er, that last one was over-long, so I’ll try it this way instead. I think I’m interested in Linked Description, not Linked Data.
    Aren’t we splitting hairs here?

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