[sc34wg3] TR: comment - RDFTM: Survey of Interoperability Proposals

Martin Bryan sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Fri, 11 Mar 2005 18:12:37 -0000

> Pat Hayes is certainly one of more well-respected logicians
> around, and for any serious work I'm putting my money on the
> Common Logic project, of which Pat, John Sowa, Chris Welty
> and a few others are writing up for submission to ISO. Pat
> does not consider things like SWRL serious contenders to CL [3]
> so if people want to point to Pat as the expert, I suggest we
> do the same and use what Pat would recommend, which would be
> Common Logic. The CL work is being edited by Harry Delugach
> and is expected to go out for ballot within SC32 this summer.

I see CL is going to be presented at the forthcoming W3C Workshop on Rule
Languages for Interoperability to be held 27-28 April in Washington, DC,
USA? Are there any formal ISO documents out for review? If so can they be
made available to WG3 before the Amsterdam meeting?

> I'm doing my part in that effort in working with Pat to make
> sure we have identifiers for all CL concepts so that we can
> bring CL semantics into a Topic Map, just as we can likewise
> bring in a Conceptual Graphs model or any other. As Bernard
> is certain to know, it's also possible to bring in OWL
> semantics into a Topic Map.

As I am working more with OWL than with topic maps these days I'd be
interested in reviewing this effort. Is there anything public yet?

> This fallacy that some kind of
> "formal model" needs exist before Topic Maps might be "taken
> seriously by formalists" is a pretty silly argument. RDF was
> able to tack on a model years after it was a W3C Recommenda-
> tion, and I don't see as a consequence that it's being taken
> any more seriously by the formalists I know.

The fallacy that a formal model helps produce a user-friendly rule language
also needs killing. Yes, you can define a rules language mathematically. No,
you can't make users understand it. Unless you come up with a simple-to-use
UI for a rule language it will not fly. Schematron rules work because they
are simplistic: a couple of hours and anyone with XML/XPath/XSLT can get
basic cross-checks working, even if you can't logically prove anything from

> But if we need any "answer" to this question, I see no reason
> why Topic Maps can't do the same, but by summer we can choose
> a better basis in Common Logic. There'll be mappings from CL
> to most other things, like Pat's RDF Semantics, CGs and KIF
> (probably even to PowerPoint and the iPod). At that point if
> we map CL to TMs, we'll have a formal basis for doing RDF/OWL
> conversions to and from Topic Maps. As formal as anyone else,
> and it will eventually have the benefit of also being an ISO
> standard.

Now that is something worth working on.

Martin Bryan