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RE: simon:entity (or Identifiable)

From: Deus, Helena <helena.deus@deri.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 07:57:11 +0100
Message-ID: <316ADBDBFE4F4D4AA4FEEF7496ECAEF9053BA7EA@EVS1.ac.nuigalway.ie>
To: "Ryan Golden" <ryan.golden@oracle.com>, <public-prov-wg@w3.org>

(although I was beginning to like "Bob" ;-) )
-----Original Message-----
From: public-prov-wg-request@w3.org on behalf of Ryan Golden
Sent: Fri 15/07/2011 06:36
To: public-prov-wg@w3.org
Subject: simon:entity (or Identifiable)
With apologies to Simon for hijacking his namespace, I'd like to take up 
Luc's suggestion to break off what he called the "simon:entity" proposal 
from the earlier thread into a separate thread.

It should come as little surprise that some problems we are trying to 
solve by our design have been faced before by others in different 
contexts.  After poring over the thread between Simon, Jim and others, I 
discovered a design issue discussion at 
(http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Generic), published by TimBL, which 
bears a _striking_ resemblance to the discussion we're having on stuff, 
thing, entity, entity state, and bob.  While he does use the "R" word in 
some of the discussion, he makes the key observation that the 
identifiers we use every day have "multi-level genericity."  That is to 
say, some identifiers are very specific ("Halley's comet, as viewed from 
the Hubble telescope, on 1/1/2014, in JPG format"), others more generic 
("Halley's comet").  The Web design, he states, "should not arbitrarily 
seek to constrain life in general for its own purposes."  Neither should 
we, I would argue.

Further, we may may make statements about "dimensions of genericity." 
That is to say that a) in relation to the thing it identifies, an 
identifier can be generic with respect to a particular dimension, e.g., 
in relation to the real Halley's comet, the "Halley's comet" identifier 
is generic with respect to time and content-type; and b) one identified 
thing may be generic in relation to another identified thing with 
respect to zero or more dimensions.  TimBL talks about the relatively 
small number of dimensions of genericity for electronic resources, 
whereas we are interested in the infinite number of dimensions (i.e., 
all possible properties) over which identifiers and things in the world 
(not just electronic resources) may vary.  The idea of "dimensions of 
genericity" gives what I believe to be a nice formulation for what we've 
been trying to discuss as "IVP of."  I leave the remainder of this 
discussion to a separate thread, however (please post any comments on 
this paragraph to that thread).

If I fail to express some of TimBL's ideas adequately, I strongly 
suggest you read the Design Note--it is brief and more well-written.

Given both elegant formulations, I would like to propose we conflate the 
following concepts:
     f2f1:entity state

Into a single concept:
     simon:entity (alternate suggested name: "Identifiable")

Which can be described as:
    that which an identifier represents

And, importantly for IVP of:
    A simon:entity/Identifiable may exhibit a different level of 
genericity in relation to another simon:entity/Identifiable with respect 
to zero or more dimensions.

Received on Friday, 15 July 2011 06:58:42 UTC

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