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Re: Introducing Vocabularies of a Friend (VOAF)

From: Hugh Glaser <hg@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2011 13:01:44 +0000
To: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
CC: Christopher Gutteridge <cjg@ecs.soton.ac.uk>, Linking Open Data <public-lod@w3.org>
Message-ID: <EMEW3|56fe8b635011e52f6175624de0e0a4bdn0OD1l02hg|ecs.soton.ac.uk|563C0577-428C-47C2-B868-98535B457A8C@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Very interesting stuff, but...

Sorry Bernard, I agree very much with Chris here.

The name meant little to me as "Vocabularies of a Friend".
In fact I think it misled me - I immediately assumed it was to do with representing information about people (as FOAF), and it took me quite a while to challenge that assumption when I looked at the pages (that is, it actually inhibited my understanding).
And the tag line doesn't tell me much more.
And clearly I am not the only one.

I don't know whether pronouncing things as acronyms (ie words, not initials) is a peculiarly English language thing, but that is what happens.
VOAF is too mistakable for FOAF (in fact I find myself sub-vocalizing it as FOAF, as FOAF is so familiar to me).
And when I think of how, for example, a native Spaniard or Japanese would pronounce VOAF and FOAF when speaking English, I find it hard to imagine always detecting the difference.
Simply because it is an homage to another vocabulary that might have a similar structure or abstract purpose doesn't mean that it is a good thing to do.
And I am not at all sure that getting Dan's stamp of approval is really the commit point!

Quite often names really are important.
Perhaps getting this feedback early on will prove really valuable?
As I say, a really interesting activity in an important area, and sorry to give my 2 centimes worth on the name.


On 19 Jan 2011, at 23:29, Bernard Vatant wrote:

Hi Christopher

I can't help but feel that calling it VOAF is just going to muddy the waters. "Friendly vocabularies for the linked data Web"
doesn't help clarify either. It's cute, but I strongly suggest you at the very least make this 'tag line' far more clear.

I agree the current documentation is too sketchy and potentially misleading as is. I have put efforts mainly on the dataset itself so far, but you're right it has to be better documented.

Regarding the name, well, the pun is here to stay I'm afraid. I've had positive feedback from Dan Brickley about it, so I already feel it's too late to change now.

Frankly calling something 'voaf' when people will hear it mixed in with 'foaf' is just making the world more confusing.

Actually I've not thought much (not at all) about how people would pronounce or hear it. I principally communicate with vocabularies (and people using them) through written stuff, and very rarely speak about them. I barely know how to pronounce OWL, and always feel like a fool when I've to, and will eventually spell it O.W.L. - as every other french native would do. If I had to speak about VOAF, I think I would spell it also V.O.A.F.

I had a lot of confusion until I found out the "SHOCK" vocab people were talking about was spelled SIOC.

Interesting, I was confused exactly the other way round. I've read a lot (and written a bit) about SIOC since it's been around, but realized only two days ago how it was pronounced when I actually heard someone "speaking" about it the "right" way ... and thought at first time it was something else.
Me too!
I knew about them both, and took a while to realise they were the same thing :-)

One other minor suggestion;
Vocabulary<http://graphite.ecs.soton.ac.uk/browser/?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mondeca.com%2Ffoaf%2Fvoaf%23Vocabulary#http://www.mondeca.com/foaf/voaf%23Vocabulary> → rdfs:subClassOf<http://graphite.ecs.soton.ac.uk/browser/?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.w3.org%2F2000%2F01%2Frdf-schema%23subClassOf#http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema%23subClassOf> → void:Dataset<http://graphite.ecs.soton.ac.uk/browser/?uri=http%3A%2F%2Frdfs.org%2Fns%2Fvoid%23Dataset#http://rdfs.org/ns/void%23Dataset>

might be a mistake because void:Dataset is defined as "A set of RDF triples that are published, maintained or aggregated by a single provider."

Not a bug, but a feature. It's exactly what a voaf:Vocabulary is.

and it may be that you would want to define non RDF vocabs using this.

You might want to do that but I don't and I'm the vocabulary creator (right?) so I can insist on the fact that this is really meant to describe *RDF* vocabularies, and cast this intention in the stone of formal semantics.
If you want to describe other kind of vocabularies the same way, feel free to use or create something else. Or extend foaf:Vocabulary to a more generic class. It's an open world, let thousand flowers blossom :)

I see no value in making this restriction.

The value I see is to keep this vocabulary use focused on what it was meant for.



Bernard Vatant
Senior Consultant
Vocabulary & Data Engineering
Tel:       +33 (0) 971 488 459
Mail:     bernard.vatant@mondeca.com<mailto:bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
3, cité Nollez 75018 Paris France
Web:    http://www.mondeca.com<http://www.mondeca.com/>
Blog:    http://mondeca.wordpress.com<http://mondeca.wordpress.com/>

Hugh Glaser,
              Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia
              School of Electronics and Computer Science,
              University of Southampton,
              Southampton SO17 1BJ
Work: +44 23 8059 3670, Fax: +44 23 8059 3045
Mobile: +44 78 9422 3822, Home: +44 23 8061 5652

Received on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 13:02:25 UTC

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