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Re: Refers Or Denotes?

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2013 16:09:10 -0500
Message-ID: <511AAF76.50709@openlinksw.com>
To: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
CC: "public-rdf-comments@w3.org" <public-rdf-comments@w3.org>, public-webid Group <public-webid@w3.org>, "public-philoweb@w3.org" <public-philoweb@w3.org>
On 2/12/13 3:58 PM, Henry Story wrote:
> A question that came up on the WebID mailing list. We'd just like some clarification
> for the use of denotes, as the issue has come up there.
>
> On 11 Feb 2013, at 21:37, Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com> wrote:
>
>> Henry / Andrei,
>>
>> I current see [ in https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/WebID/raw-file/tip/spec/identity-respec.html ]
>> "A WebID is an HTTP URI which *refers* to an Agent (Person, Organization, Group, Device, etc.)."
>>
>> But in the context of RDF based Linked Data, the RDF workgroup (after serious thought on this matter) [1] has opted to use what would equate to:
>>
>> A WebID is an HTTP URI which *denotes* an Agent (Person, Organization, Group, Device, etc.).
>>
>> The more we stick to definitions and terminology being used across other W3C groups the easier things will be (on the appreciation and adoption front)  for WebID, over the long haul.
>> Links:
>>
>> 1. http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/WD-rdf11-concepts-20130115/#resources-and-statements .
>> 2. http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/WD-rdf11-concepts-20130115/ -- latest RDF 1.1 Concepts and Abstract Syntax edition .
> I am not sure why "denotes" is being taken up by the RDF group nowadays, when most philosophy books and logic books tend to use the word "refer". Most engineers use the word refer too on a daily basis.

Quite simple, when the context is Linked Data, an HTTP URI has an 
inherent duality whereby it denotes an entity and identifies a Web 
resource. This duality makes the use of "refers to" ambiguous as 
exemplified by the HttpRange-14 permathread. As I said, this matter was 
discussed to conclusion on the RDF working group list [1].



>
> In fact it is quite clear from the RDF concepts text that the two words are near synonymous, since what an IRI denotes is called its referent:
>
> [[
> Any IRI or literal denotes some thing in the universe of discourse. These things are called resources. Anything can be a resource, including physical things, documents, abstract concepts, numbers and strings; the term is synonymous with “entity”. The resource denoted by an IRI is called its referent,
> ]]
>
> I am ok with denotes. But we can also use referent according to that text. So I don't think this is a very settled matter - given furthermore that the above is not yet a final spec.

We have to bring clarity to past ambiguities associated with:

1. Resource.
2. RDF and Linked Data -- Linked Data is an application of RDF, not RDF 
itself.
3. HTTP URI duality.

> I would like to know why this decision is being made though. Is that just an aesthetic statement, or is there more behind it?

See my comments above.

Links:

1. http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-rdf-wg/2012May/0571.html 
-- a prior RDF working group discussion thread covering this matter.

Kingsley

>
> Henry
>
>> -- 
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Kingsley Idehen	
>> Founder & CEO
>> OpenLink Software
>> Company Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
>> Personal Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
>> Twitter/Identi.ca handle: @kidehen
>> Google+ Profile: https://plus.google.com/112399767740508618350/about
>> LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kidehen
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
> Social Web Architect
> http://bblfish.net/
>


-- 

Regards,

Kingsley Idehen	
Founder & CEO
OpenLink Software
Company Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Personal Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
Twitter/Identi.ca handle: @kidehen
Google+ Profile: https://plus.google.com/112399767740508618350/about
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kidehen







Received on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 21:09:33 GMT

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