First things first

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I have been working on a series of essays and matching examples and implementations that combine art and technology, human communication and the Internet. Specifically they focus on RDF and poetry, of all things.

The essays will, hopefully, demonstrate where the complexity of RDF (Resource Description Framework) and ontologies shine and traditional keyword technology fails — within the metaphorical richness of poetry. I’m demonstrating how one can search on concepts, not just keywords, and get a listing of poems that incorporate the concepts, regardless of the actual words used in the poem.

For instance, the ‘bridge’ is many times used as a metaphor for a variety of complex concepts, such as a person facing change within themselves. By defining bridge as metaphor for this concept, one could attach the ‘bridge’ metaphor to a poem that doesn’t even contain the word ‘bridge’, but does contain the concept, though using a different metaphor.

After being burned out for so long, I’ve had a lot of fun working on what I call My “Poetry Finder” for want of a better term. What I particularly like about this work is it allows me to combine my interest in technology with art, particularly writing, something I’ve not been able to do before. I’m having fun. Rusty fun.

As an aside in the article, I was going to discuss, briefly, about my disappointment that so much about RDF is focused on RSS and FOAF, both of which I’ve referred to as ‘brain dead’ data models. I don’t use this term to insult these highly useful and popular specifications; but to demonstrate that using RDF for a simple hierarchy of items, parent to child, isn’t a good representation of the richness of RDF and an associated ontology built on RDF. The only semantics associated with either RSS or FOAF is from the data’s inclusion in a RSS or FOAF file — there is no other semantics associated with either of these specifications. I feel the points are good, and demonstrative.

However, lately, I’ve found myself reluctant to even mention RSS, because doing so invites a flame war into my comments that has little to do what I originally wrote.

When I write to this weblog, or elsewhere, it’s more than a collection of keywords randomly stuck together. When I use ‘RSS’ in a weblog posting, it’s within the context of the larger body of writing, not specifically associated with whatever one’s feelings are about RSS at that point in time. I’m reminded of a dog’s interpretation of how we speak, when I see the fixation on keywords within our weblogs at times:


blah blah blah, blahty, blah, RSS

blah, blah blah blippy blag ramble blah RSS blah blah


It can be more than a little disappointing when you write something and the comments take off on a tangent having little to do with what you write. Some would say that this is the richness of this medium — that it opens new doors to communication. True, and I’ve seen, and been pleased by, rich discussions in my comments that were inspired by the original writing, but not necessarily referencing it.

However, in the case of RSS, there is no inspiration involved — people see “RSS” and that’s all she wrote. Next thing you know, wars start, flames begin, and the whole thing about who ‘owns’ RSS, or who has ‘ruined’ RSS begins anew.

Not with my RDF and poetry work. I’ve spent too much time on these to allow them to be used as springboards for yet another mud slinging session. So I have two choices:

1. I can forego including anything referring to RSS in the essays. However, the inclusion of the material is demonstrative of some key points I want to make. In effect, by removing my writing on RSS, I would be censoring myself because I don’t want ill-mannered behavior in my comments. This is not acceptable.

2. Use a lightning rod. By this I mean get the discussion about RSS over and done with before going into the RDF and poetry writing. Make it clear that now is the time to discuss this things, get them out of our system. Not in my work on RDF/poetry.

So this is fair warning: today I’m wading into the politics surrounding RSS. Most of you won’t care, or will be tired of the discussion. You’ll most likely want to bypass my postings related to these topics. Fair enough. Please stop by after this weekend when I promise to write on other things, more pics, blogshares, and, especially, my RDF/poetry work.

I know that some people will be disappointed that I’m covering this topic. And I’m not going to bitch if it gets ugly, because I’m an old hand at this, I know what to expect. This discussion is a lose/lose, and most likely nothing will be resolved. However, my point isn’t resolution as much as it is exhaustion. Strike now, and then forever hold your peace.

More later today.

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