Publishing industry doom?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On Wired's Newspapers Should Really Worry, are some disturbing numbers on where print media is headed. I've always argued that reading print vs. online is more of a generation issue, but eventually, online (or e-ink) will dominate. What I find amusing is that many people in the publishing industry don't see the impact this will have in the next few decades.

The advertising industry will probably start suffering first, as it scrambles to find creative ways of reaching the 18-34 year old demographic and slowly starts moving away from print.

Introductory Semantic Web video

Friday, November 19, 2004

Via Nova Spivack, a introductory video explaining the Semantic Web. It, also demonstrates a good way to present slides and video together.

Nova has some additional interesting commentary about ontologies in subsequent postings: The Ontology Problem: A Definition with Commentary and Use of Role Classes to Define Predicate Semantics: Proposal for Semantic Web Best-Practic. Good stuff to think about as I immerse myself in OWL.

'Closed world' assumptions in RDF

Saturday, November 13, 2004

One of the properties of RDF that bothers XML people is that the RDF model describes an 'open world' model. If something is not stated, you cannot assume it is true or false, because that information might be somewhere else e.g. pigs don't have wings.

Could we not use the XML declaration attribute standalone to determine that a document is self-contained? As in:

<xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes">


That assumption would possibly elimitate the usefulness of that document in a Semantic Web, but could potentially make the 'open world' issue controllable.

Are RDF URI references ugly?

Friday, November 12, 2004

In RDF, you use fragment identifiers to identify concepts as a URI reference. After wrapping my mind around the idea that a simple '#' can change a URI to mean anything, I set myself to work on the magazine ontology for my project.

From good URI design, you learn how to generate URIs that look like http://www.example.com/2004/11/12/whatever. The namespace for my vocabulary is not an issue - http://example.com/ns/publication# . That means that I can use pub:Issue element and it will expand to http://example.com/ns/publication#Issue . The problem occurs when I try to use this design pattern to identify instances of my magazines. Consider the following rdf:about attributes I had created before reading about The Hash:

<Publication rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/">
<Issue rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/">
<Section rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/tech/">
<Story rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/tech/rdffun">

Nice looking, no? Now let's try to change the URI to use the fragment identifier:

<Publication rdf:about="http://example.com/pub#mypub">
<Issue rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/volume#11">
<Section rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/section#tech">
<Story rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/tech#rdffun">

Something just doesn't feel right about these URIs. They look... ugly.
Considered individually, they don't bother me as much. Another example:

<Page rdf:about="http://example.com/mypub/2004/11/page#5">

Maybe I'll get used to it...