Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Text for the Semantic Web

I am having second thoughts as to whether the text for terms, definitions, descriptions, and other text belong in RDF or should be stored externally. I am not convinced one way or the other.

On the one hand, storing text externally could make it more manageable with traditional text tools, and even searchable using traditional text-oriented search engines.

On the other hand, storing all of that text separately increases the number of resources and may be more unmanageable than embedding the text directly in RDF.

One hybrid approach would be to store the "source" for the text in traditional text documents or simpler XML files, with labels, and then have a processing step that takes an intermediate form of RDF that has the labels and substitutes the associated text. This processing might in fact simply be done using XSLT.

Ultimately, I might simply prefer the "simplest" approach, but sometimes simplicity is not the cheapest or most flexible and maintainable approach.

The Semantic Web is still in its infancy, so techniques and tools are evolving, so that those techniques and tools in vogue today may not be the preferred approach in the future.

-- Jack Krupansky


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