[okfn-discuss] Re: Collaborative Development of Data

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Mon Feb 19 16:14:41 UTC 2007

Erik Moeller wrote:
> Are you familiar with the Semantic MediaWiki? If not, please carefully
> study & browse:
> http://ontoworld.org/

I'm not though I'm reasonably familiar with RDF type stuff. I've now
taken a thorough look there. Similar to my comments below while I think 
it is great that you have added RDF support to MediaWiki (to make 
Semantic MediaWiki) I'm not sure what that proves. My impression from 
looking at RDF stuff in the past was that it wasn't that hard to start 
storing RDF (or to give people web interfaces to create it) but it was 
hard to manage it and use it to interesting things (e.g. querying was 
highly inefficient, versioning could become a nightmare etc etc).

> You may also want to read the proposal at
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikicat

I now have done. Very interesting (as is the WikiCite and WikiTextRose 

Of course bibliographic catalogue systems are something that people have 
been working on for a very long time and so my particular question 
(which follows on from my recent reply to Mako) would be 'why in a 
wiki'? I completely agree that supporting a versioning of catalogue data 
perhaps combined with free read access might be a great way to manage a 
bibliographic information but I'm not sure why you'd want to do that in 
a wiki (and once you start adding structured fields it becomes less and 
less and like a wiki and more and more like a web application in which 
case I'm not sure that using MediaWiki or even MoinMoin as your base 
would be the best way to start).

In my opinion the fundamental point is that you want to version 
something with structure (referential integrity). This adds complexity 
beyond that involved in versioning a single object or even a filesystem 
tree. What then are the problems and the solutions if one wants to start 
doing this (and what tools are out there). Once those are solved I'm 
sure we can start implementing web interfaces to that versioned data 
inside of MediaWiki inside of MoinMoin, inside of Drupal, inside of a 
TurboGears web app etc etc.

> and related documents. I'd comment further but it makes sense to try
> to first establish a shared level of knowledge about the subject.

Absolutely agree.



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