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Re: [Dbpedia-discussion] Using DBpedia resources as skos:Concepts?

From: Simon Spero <ses@unc.edu>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 13:38:36 -0500
Message-ID: <1af06bde0911131038r17f2b509kb9b85743c08d86f9@mail.gmail.com>
To: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Cc: "Sandhaus, Evan" <sandhes@nytimes.com>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, SKOS <public-esw-thes@w3.org>, Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
On Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 9:24 AM, Bernard Vatant
<bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>wrote:

I suggest you read or re-read "In Defense of Ambiguity"
> http://www.ibiblio.org/hhalpin/irw2006/presentations/HayesSlides.pdf
> Actually, what you ask for, as well as Richard does, is the right to
> overload (pun) URIs like you do it for names in natural languages. Following
> Pat's thesis, you could indeed use the same URI to identify a library index
> entry (skos:Concept) and its referent (person, country, whatever), providing
> you have mechanisms allowing to sort out predicates relevant to each
> interpretation of the URI.
>

I agree  that identical sequences of characters can refer to different
entities or classes of entities, and that "natural language" terms can be
ambiguous (per Quine).
 In Controlled Vocabularies, the labels for  homonyms and polysemes must be
distinct, and their scope of usage defined, subject to the limit of the
indeterminacy of translation.

However, since URIs are artificially coined,and subject to the control of a
single "legal person",  there is a choice as to whether to use the same
sequence of characters to refer to multiple, distinct entities. If one
deliberately  choses to use the same name for entities which one considers
to be distinct, one must take equally deliberate care to disambiguate uses
of that name, possibly restricting uses of the name solely to cases where
the  entity referenced can be disambiguated.

Since URIs are used in RDF as "subjects", unless an assertion could only
refer to one entity and not the other, or must apply to all possible
entities that the URI could denote, it is not possible to perform this
disambiguation.  URIs are cheap; why not have two?

Simon
p.s.

Since it's Gavagi Friday, here's a story about detached rabbit
parts<http://reason.com/blog/2009/11/09/science-monday-vat-grown-rabbi>.
In a vat.  Capable of giving mild sexual gratification to a warehouse full
of rabbits. Lo, a trifecta!
Received on Friday, 13 November 2009 18:39:16 GMT

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