RDF Writing

Mardi Gras Blues

I had hoped to attend the Captain Morgan Mardi Gras parade, but this flu seems to be quite partial to my body, and has decided to take an extended vacation among my various crevices. Right now, I believe it’s paying a protracted visit to my lungs and throat. However, I have high hopes of making it to the traditional Mardi Gras parade Tuesday night, flu or not.

I am determined to pick up one strand of genuine Mardi Gras beads. Just one. Hopefully I won’t have to flash a breast to achieve it.

The enforced stay at home has been productive from a book stand point. I’m finishing up the first round edits in preparation for the chapters being reviewed one more time by a ’subject matter expert’, and then to my editor for the final edits and pre-production readiness.

If you’re interested, I just posted a note about the process in more detail, as well as an HTML version of the first chapter, in the book weblog. The chapter still needs some editing but it’s getting there.

In the edited introductory chapter, I put more focus on the purpose of the book, as well as the section on when to use RDF/XML and when to stay with straight XML. I also incorporated information that explains my interest in RDF/XML.

If I have any edge at all with writing about RDF/XML, it’s that I come from a politically neutral position in the battle between the semantic web folks on one end and the markup folks on the other. I’m neither semantic web nor markup; I’m a data person, with many years of experience working with data at different levels and for different companies. Because of this neutrality, I think I can safely represent all interests or biases in the material. Or perhaps a better way of saying this is: I piss everyone off equally.

But, you know, I can live with this.

Besides, people haven’t necessarily been beating down the doors to write books on RDF. If you go out to Amazon and search on the term ‘RDF’ only a few books get pulled up, and they haven’t been exactly flying off the shelves. Of course, this will change when my book comes out and all of you go out and buy your copies of the book. And, no, Amazon still hasn’t corrected the author list, removing Ray as a co-author. I told you his name would be there forever. Grrr.

As usual when I mention the book, I have to again send kudos to Simon St. Laurent, my editor. This last week he helped me deal with the rather detailed criticism of the book I received from some of my reviewers – something that’s not always easy for an author to absorb.

Simon is what is known in our industry as and a Good Man and a Very Cool Dude. I owe him a box of my favorite chocolates – as soon as I get my advance and can pay for it. Or maybe I should send him a box of Tim Tams?

There’s a funny story associated with the list of books at Amazon on RDF. If you look at this one you’ll see that it’s ‘authored’ by Dan Brickley. The story behind this is that the publisher grabbed the W3C specifications, which were, I believe, public domain or at least allowed this type of re-publication, and then did nothing more than reprint them in the book, exactly. They plunked Dan Brickley’s name on it since he was one of the co-authors of the original specification. This action pissed Mr. Brickley off quite a bit, as you can imagine.

Cheesy thing to do? Damn right it was. But also an excellent example of what can happen to material once it’s in the public domain.

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