W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-prov-wg@w3.org > July 2011

Re: simon:entity (or Identifiable)

From: Luc Moreau <l.moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 12:53:22 +0100
Message-ID: <EMEW3|3d93b0d9086d3958df4aa4aa947c0fbcn6ECjs08l.moreau|ecs.soton.ac.uk|4E202A32.3060908@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
To: public-prov-wg@w3.org
Hi Ryan,

Over the last two weeks, there has been a gradual confusion about terms.

To me, "stuff" and "activity" were not concepts we were trying to define.
We were stating that there are stuffs and activities in the world.
These words had to be understood with their informal/natural language

When defining PIL concepts, we were then using these terms.
For instance, a process execution is an activity.

This had plenty of advantages for explaining the concepts,
and how to use them with respect to the world.

Given this, I am saying it is not right to say we should conflate
   stuff and thing (or f2f1:entity and f2f1:bob)
since the former was intended to be a normal word we use in natural
language, and the latter was intended to be a concept we define.

In other words, in a spec, I was expecting "stuff" to be in normal font,
whereas "thing" would have been in bold/typewriter, or written pil:thing.
For instance, a <bold>ProcessExecution</bold> is an activity.

Simon got away with it, by replacing stuff/f2f1:entity by the word 

Ryan, you are avoiding it, because you use "that" instead.  (BTW, your
text uses the term thing too! informally!)

It makes explanations very difficult when we don't have a word such as 
especially when we want to say that there are multiple perspectives over 
a same
stuff. This is why both the words pil:thing and stuff were used in the
definition of IVP of.

I am all in favour of simplifying definitions, but your proposal is
preventing us from using an English word, which is very convenient to have
when defining or explaining or concepts.

In the meantime, until we gain an understanding of all our concepts,
I propose we keep on using the term stuff (or f2f1:entity) in our


On 15/07/2011 06:36, Ryan Golden wrote:
> 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.
> Rationale
> --------------
> 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.
> Proposal
> -------------
> Given both elegant formulations, I would like to propose we conflate 
> the following concepts:
>     old:stuff
>     old:thing
>     f2f1:entity
>     f2f1:bob
>     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.
> --Ryan
Received on Friday, 15 July 2011 11:46:23 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 21:58:06 UTC