[Tdwg-tag] RDF instead of xml schema

Donald Hobern dhobern at gbif.org
Fri Mar 24 23:50:21 CET 2006

Thanks, Flip.

I agree that we should as far as we can start with data models which are
defined independently of the encoding.  The key factor is to move towards a
cleaner object-oriented model (with well-defined objects and relationships)
and then we should be able to play with different encodings much more easily
than today.

Best wishes,

Donald Hobern (dhobern at gbif.org)
Programme Officer for Data Access and Database Interoperability 
Global Biodiversity Information Facility Secretariat 
Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel: +45-35321483   Mobile: +45-28751483   Fax: +45-35321480

-----Original Message-----
From: Tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org
[mailto:Tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Phillip C.Dibner
Sent: 24 March 2006 20:53
To: G. Hagedorn
Cc: Tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [Tdwg-tag] RDF instead of xml schema

I can contribute a few answers:

> * Would we be first in line to try rdf for such complex models as 
> biodiversity
> informatics?

I think there's no harm, and likely some benefit, to experimentation.  
However, I believe our models need to be specified in some way that is 
(as) independent (as possible) of serialization / encoding.

This of course completely avoids the question of what we should use as 
a practical matter for communications and online schemas.  In that 
department, I would tend to go with XML Schema until standard RDF 
encodings have been developed for models upon which we (are likely to) 
depend.  Mixed implementations might also be appropriate and manageable 
in some cases.

> * Why are GML, SVG etc. based on xml schema and not RDFS? Is this just
> historical?

In the case of GML, I guess you could say it's historical.   An early 
version of GML was actually coded in RDF, and GML implicitly 
incorporates some of the same semantic notions as RDF.   XML Schema has 
been used since then for formal specifications because when it was 
created, RDF and the tools that support it were not sufficiently 
mature.  There is somewhat of a movement now to develop RDF 
serializations, but I'm not aware of any formal projects.


Phillip C. Dibner
Ecosystem Associates
(650) 948-3537
(650) 948-7895 Fax

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