[Tdwg-tag] RDF instead of xml schema

Gregor Hagedorn G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE
Fri Mar 24 18:36:35 CET 2006

Hi all,

RDF to me appears on a level of abstraction making it very hard for me to 
follow the documentation and discussion. Most of the examples are embedded in 
an artificial intelligence / reasoning use cases that I have no experience 

I am a biologist and I feel comfortable with UML, ER-modeling, xml-schema-
modeling, and - surprise - relational databases. I believe many others are as 
well - how many datastores are actually build upon RDBMS technology?

To me xml-schema maps nicely to both UML-like OO-modeling and Relational DBMS. 
I can guess about the advantages of opening this all up and seeing the world as 
a huge set of unstructured statement tupels. But it also scares me.

Angst is a bad advisor. But then if only a minority of the current few people 
involved can follow on the RDF abstraction level. A few questions I have:

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

* Do Genbank/EMBL with their hundreds of employees and programmers use rdf? 
Internally/externally? The molecular bioinformatics is probably 1000 times 
larger than our biodiversity informatics.

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

* Are there any tools around that let me import RDF into a relational database 
(simple tools for xml-schema-based import/export are almost standard part of 
databases now, or you can use comfortable graphical tools like Altova 

-- I am just trying to test some tools to help me to visualize RDFS productions 
(like Roger has send around) on a level comparable with the UML-like xml-schema 
editors (Spy, Stylus, Oracle, etc.) I will try Altova SemanticWorks and Protege 
over the next week. The screenshot seem to be about AI and semantic web much 
more than about information models (those creatures where you try to simplify 
the world to make it manageable...).

Gregor Hagedorn (G.Hagedorn at bba.de)
Institute for Plant Virology, Microbiology, and Biosafety
Federal Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA)
Königin-Luise-Str. 19           Tel: +49-30-8304-2220
14195 Berlin, Germany           Fax: +49-30-8304-2203

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