Monday, September 25, 2006

RDF problem/solution

The Resource Description Framework is a tool to represent graphics by enabling description of triplets - two related concepts and the nature of their relatioship. It was due to this simplicity that it was chosen to represent S3DB statements. The permissiveness of vocabularies to describe particular pieces of level specific information by S3DB indexes and the graphical nature of RDF complement each other. Thus, we see in RDF the ideal platform where domain specific vocabularies, loosely coupled nomeclatures for emerging technologies and even lab jargon can be thrown in the same bucket of knowledge.

The challenge, thus, is developing a comprehensive representation of the slowly evolving, often shifting data models. Although this could be accomplished by representing the model in XML (and indeed there is a module in S3DB that enables this approach), we are seeking a more flexible approach, one which does not impose a hierarquical structure or even the determination of classes and subclasses. RDF, coupled with RDF Schema for description of the few controlled vocabularies and relashioships needed to make the model usefull and functional on S3DB seem to provide a good solution.

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