A proposed direction for the Working Group to take regarding Atom and RDF.
A number of members of the Working Group want to be able to map Atom to RDF.
Interpreting Atom syntax as RDF/XML is not possible without applying transformations. As transformations are needed anyway, then it is unnecessary for the core Atom syntax specification to constrain the syntax to be more RDF/XML-like for the benefit of RDF users.
The simplicity of the Atom syntax should not be compromised to make a RDF mapping simpler.
The simplicity of an Atom/RDF model should not be compromised to make the Atom syntax mapping simpler.
A mapping from Atom syntax to the RDF model should not be defined by the current Atom specifications. Instead, a mapping can be defined in a separate Internet Draft.
Some constraints need be met to make this possible:
Atom should define a consistent model for its core elements. This is already mostly done within the prose of the Atom syntax specification, which is adequate. There are currently some areas where the model may be ambiguous when taken outside the realm of an XML document, such as what properties xml:lang applies to, this needs to be addressed.
Atom should define a consistent model for extensions, which balances the freedom of extension authors to choose an appropriate syntax, and the possibility for the extension to be mapped to RDF in a natural form. PaceExtensionConstruct attempts to do this.
As a separate Internet Draft, a standard RDF vocabulary for representing Atom documents in terms of their underlying entities and properties should be defined, together with a process to map Atom syntax documents to this RDF vocabulary. One possibility is that Atom syntax could be transformed to RDF/XML using an XSLT style-sheet.
No direct impacts to the existing syntax.