Semantics Specs

RDF Specifications Recommended

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

W3C is pleased to announce the advancement of the Resource Description Framework (RDF) to Proposed Recommendation.

Relieved more like it as these long awaited specifications finally reach the “proposed recommended” state, one short step before becoming formal recommendations.

These documents (RDF/XML Syntax Specification, RDF Vocabulary Description Language 1.0RDF SemanticsRDF PrimerRDF Test Cases, and RDF: Concepts and Abstract Syntax) represent a great deal of time and effort on the part of the RDF working group members, who are to be congratulated in finishing this important milestone.

In addition to the RDF documents, the OWL Web Ontology Language also made proposed recommendation status. Someone at the W3C must have said: let’s get this show on the road, children.

Semantic Web, or should I say, semantic web, here we come.

(Thanks to Dave Beckett and Danny Ayers for heads up.)



Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Both my mineral collection and the items I had in my unit in San Francisco sold this last week while I was out of town. The mineral collection in particular is going to a very good home. In fact, one of the side trips this next week is to deliver the collection because I don’t want to risk damage to them through regular shipping.

Thanks to both sales, I can now take my long awaited research trip, as well as stock up on more film and more importantly, a new slide scanner. Not an expensive one – good enough to scan slides and negatives to send to editors. For publication purposes, I’ll still need to then have them professionally scanned – after they’ve sold, of course.

I have quite a few things going on, including looking at the possibility of switching to new blogging software for my sites, as well as starting two new weblogs. I’m also helping a friend with his new publication (though I haven’t done much for him yet). I’ve been trying to work through a new book deal, but I am now beginning to lose hope that it is going through, and this is disappointing.

I also thought this week of closing down Burningbird because I think that the tread on this weblog’s tires has worn too thin: too many expectations about what will, or will not be, written about here. Still, expectations are not granite and I’m not frozen into a crystalline, unchanging form. If I choose to re-invent myself and my writing, what I write has nothing to do with the URL and everything to do with me.

However, I am eliminating the publicly published blogroll entirely, even as a secondary page. I know Halley considers this a selfish act, but blogrolls neither help community, not add to the value of writing. In fact, I’ve chatted with Dave Sifrey and Kevin about eliminating persistent links such as blogroll links from the Technorati measurements, focusing instead on links that are included within writing. Kevin has already cleaned out most of the non-weblog links from the rolls, but filtering out persistent links is going to be a harder algorithm to derive though I have no doubts they are, at least, considering it.

(I’ve always admired Dave for being one of those people who continues to listen to his clients, individually and as a group, regardless of how successful his enterprises are.)

Weblogging is, in part, community, true, but I don’t need blogrolls to become part of the community, and blogrolls aren’t going to give me entree into any circles. Connecting with people deliberatly is what makes a community, not putting a link up in a sidebar and forgetting about it.

When I read something that should be commented on, or at least, pointed out, I’ll do so – just as I did with recent postings to Sheila, Yule, Loren, Doug, Liz, and even Halley. And the community can invite themselves in by commenting and I put their weblog URLs attached to their name in the Recent Comments/Trackbacks. Both serve to direct attention to sites in a, hopefully, more direct and meaningful way.

Jonathon Delacour wrote on this recently, in response to a general ‘argy-bargy’, the colloquial term he used to cover recent discussions about lack of exposure for women webloggers. He mentioned, admiringly, about Steven Den Beste’s practice of changing his blogroll to highlight new sites, and I agree, it is an effective approach. However, I would rather highlight what a person writes when they’ve written something that has amused, delighted, astonished, overwhelmed, outraged, or saddened me then to put the links in a blogroll. If, as some people think, a link is part of the semantic web, then I’d rather my links be meaningful. Or as Jonathon writes:

Perhaps bloggers would start to believe that if enough people (us) are doing the same thing (basing blogrolls and links on the quality and originality of the ideas and writing) then we must know something they don’t (that excellence rather than reputation deserves to be celebrated).

(Of course, I realize that people will most likely pull my link from their blogrolls, and if this is the way of satisfying ‘quid pro quo’, so be it. I rarely get visits from blogrolls any more: most people come here through aggregators such Bloglines, which I use, or pages such as Technorati. If my rank falls, and I am visited less, than that, too, tells me a story.)

When I choose to write and not do so as part of the community, then I want people to stop and read what I say rather than be sidetracked by changing blogrolls, or influenced because I include them, or not, in a blogroll. I don’t want to mix community and writing, because the one becomes both filter and censor on the other; at some point you can no longer tell if the silence or acclaim that greets your words is based on what you write, or who you are.


Works for me

Two political items from Sheila Lennon:

First this, on single women and our voting power:

“Never-married, divorced or widowed women constitute a whopping 20 percent of the electorate and 42 percent of all registered women voters. In the 2000 elections, they represented the same percentage of the electorate as Jews, blacks and Latinos combined. In terms of voting muscle, few can compete with the girl power of this constituency.”

From Reno Times

I’ve always known I’ve had power.

And then this post on which Rock The Vote commercial was voted best and Clark’s winning entry, Sheila wrote:

Clark is sitting around a table with college students. he’s just said he’s pro-choice, believes in affirmative action, and, in the same no-nonsense voice, continues, “I don’t care what the other candidates think, I don’t think Outkast is really breaking up. Big Boi and Andre 3000 just cut solo records, that’s all” followed by a high-five to one student.

Gone is the arrogant general who is always right with this ad. If Clark continues bringing into the elections this same wonderful, dry humor, and matches it up with a strong pro-environment and pro-labor stance, support for universal health care and equal rights, an effective solution for withdrawing from Iraq that won’t leave that country in the hands of the religious fundamentalists, as well as a solution for our horrifying deficit, he just might win a vote from this member of the single women voters.

Yule Heibel also wrote about the Clark ad, noting something I also noted – with the same uncomfortable and worried feeling:

Clark’s video on the other hand announced a new style, and while I was glad to see it being used by a Democratic candidate, seeing it as so clearly superior to the other crappy video spots made me sit bolt upright, because I realized that this is the approach which smart conservatives/ Republicans have been deploying.