[tdwg-tag] Another reason why RDF is cool

Gregor Hagedorn G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE
Wed Sep 20 17:26:55 CEST 2006

Hi, some comments on http://semant.blogspot.com/2006/09/adding-triples-using-

A practical problem is of course the choice of predicates from a vocabulary of 
millions of potential URIs. In prinicpal, that is universal, but it is relevant 
if the assumption is that raw tools suffice and are easy. This reminds me a bit 
of the older DELTA pioneers who simply had remembered the their characters and 
state numbers (i.e. equivalent of URIs) by heart.

A more general thing that bothers me about using RDF: if I have many such 
statements without knowing who made them (e.g. someone I know, someone I know 
can identify this ant, someone I know cannot), perhaps when (I myself as a 
student years ago or just now), and under which circumstances (including 
whether from own observation or citing other sources), these data become of 
doubtful value.

Dealing with this in RDF using reification mechanism seems to be a management 
problem. I belief treating statements as naturally related (e.g. a chapter in a 
book, a wiki page) is more natural than treating them as atomic.

Gregor Hagedorn

> I know that there is some scepticism about RDF, so I thought I'd relate  
> an experience I had yesterday at The Natural History Museum in London.  
> A colleague of mine has often complained about how hard it is to get  
> his data (and data others have) into a useful form for the web, and  
> that efforts such as the Semantic Web only seem to make this harder.
> So, as an experiment, I attempted to get some information about an ant  
> image into a local triple store. This involved putting some triples in  
> a table using EditGrid (an online spreadsheet), grabbing the XML,  
> converting it to RDF, and importing that into the triple store. See  
> here for details:  
> http://semant.blogspot.com/2006/09/adding-triples-using-editgrid.html.
> The bottom line is that it was trivially easy to go from a spreadsheet  
> to a triple store, and hence add new information about this ant.  
> Writing it up in the blog took as long as the actual work.
> This particular example concerns one image harvested from the web.  
> Things like adding distribution records in bulk would be even easier.
> So, my question is this: is there anything other than RDF that can make  
> this as straightforward as it is? If so, I'd love to hear it...
> Regards
> Rod
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
> ----------------------------------------
> Professor Roderic D. M. Page
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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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