Re: meta information

Nick Arnett/Multimedia Computing Corp. (
Thu, 2 Jun 1994 19:02:25 -0800

Perhaps we aren't all looking at the value of the Web in the same way. I
don't think that semantic tagging is an application-specific capability; it
appears to be to be utterly essential to the Web's scalability. If it's
not enabled, it's going to be very hard to find things.

Without the possibility of semantic tagging, there's no way to automate the
linking of Web documents in ways that take advantage of its capabilities.
We'll be stuck with the old flat-file and relational models (which have
already reared their ugly heads in this discussion) that have limited value
in this environment. They have their place, but unless they're storing
semantically related information, they'll have a hard time coping with the
scale of information-sharing that's becoming possible.

I'm bothered by the introduction of the relational model into this
discussion. It's much too limiting. The relational model doesn't work for
a few reasons. In a relational model, the number of sets of objects is
basically fixed when the database is created. You can't easily add
infinite new "columns." As I suggested earlier, in a semantic structure,
you can add "fizzbins" any time.

The second big problem is tht in the relational model, there's no way to
express an object that inherits characteristics of two parents. For
example, if you have manufacturing companies and service companies as one
way of categorizing, and public companies v. private companies as another,
the relational model has no way to express the full set of relationships.
You have to express it as manufaturing companies that are public or private
and service companies that are public or private, or the other way around,
but not all of the relationships.


Multimedia Computing Corp.
Campbell, California
"We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunity." -- Pogo