Jeff  - I use RDF description in the “plain english” sense, to mean, well “an RDF description”,   not rdf:Description.  I think we use it (here) frequently and I don’t think it has ever been used (here, or in BIBFRAME) to mean rdf:Description.  Is there another expression, that means “an RDF description” that you prefer?  (We can always go back to calling it an “RDF record”.)


From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Young,Jeff (OR)
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:24 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIBFRAME] What is a BIBFRAME Resource?


I think this is very well stated up to this point:

“But that line is also saying that this bf:Instance is an RDF description.”

Note that “RDF description” (as in <rdf:Description>) is not an ontological class. It is a bizarre artifact of RDF/XML to accommodate the potential lack of an explicit type assignment. Note, for example, that rdf:Description isn’t manifested in other RDF serializations like a real class would be. It drops out.

It’s not surprising that people assume it is an ontological class, though, because Striped RDF/XML has some syntactic sugar that allows you to swap it out for one of the rdf:types, if you want to.

RDF/XML is evil. :)


From: Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]]<mailto:[mailto:[log in to unmask]]> On Behalf Of Denenberg, Ray
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 4:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [BIBFRAME] What is a BIBFRAME Resource?

I seemed to have caused some confusion (my apologies) by my post week-before-last;  I was away (on vacation) all last week, so I have just gotten back to this. I want to try to explain my view of what a BIBFRAME resource is,  in simple terms, without using  terminology that I don’t think we have agreed-upon definition for, such as “real-world-object”, “thingy”, and “r-ball”.  (I have no idea what an r-ball is, only a vague idea what a thingy is, and I know what my definition of an RWO is but am not sure we all agree.)    If I use any term that anyone thinks does not have a commonly agreed-upon definition, please call me out.

So let me try to work through this.


The first line is:

<bf:Instance rdf:about="">

These are two distinct URIs:

1.    an RDF description,

2.     the thing it describes.

Rob says  (I’m paraphrasing) “you can’t have one single URI identifying both the thing and it’s description” .  But we don’t.  These are two distinct URIs.   The trick is, if you click on the “thing” you get the description, i.e. you get RDF, and that’s because  that’s what web architecture and linked data principles say is supposed to happen: if a URI identifies a resource which is an abstract concept, if you dereference that  URI there should be an HTTP 303 re-direct to an RDF description of that resource.

And the line that says:

          <bf:Instance rdf:about="">

Is saying that this RDF description is ABOUT     which is an abstract thing (an Instance).  And the properties expressed within the RDF description are properties of that abstract thing.

But that line is also saying that this bf:Instance is an RDF description.

 So a bf:Instance is an RDF description.   That’s the part that seemed to cause anguish.  So how do we get around that?   I propose we say   “a bf:Instance is a description, and a BIBFRAME Instance is an abstract concept”.

Does this help?