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Re: Definition of Entity

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2011 21:44:13 +0100
Message-ID: <4E61401D.3060203@ninebynine.org>
To: Luc Moreau <l.moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
CC: W3C provenance WG <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
On 02/09/2011 19:01, Luc Moreau wrote:
> Hi Graham,
> A long time ago, we agreed that we are defining an assertion language. All
> constructs are asssertions.
> We assert process execution, we assert entity, we assert derivation, etc.
> Naming one these constructs assertion would make no sense!

Actually, I think it would make perfect sense.

The fact of saying that we are defining an "assertion language" does not, of 
itself, mean that all of the concepts introduced are "assertions".  In 
particular, the assertions must be *about* something that is not an assertion.

 From previous discussions and my reading of the document, I thought the idea 
was that the assertions were about "Entities".  I now come to understand that is 
not what you intend.  In describing a language, I think it is especially 
important to be clear about what is a language construct and what is in the 
domain of discourse of that language.  The language definition needs to talk 
about both, and be very clear about which is which.

I think that, at heart, my comments are not so much that what the document says 
is fundamentally wrong, but that the choice of words and document structure too 
easily allow misreading.  I note that the terms used were, from my recollection, 
chosen by group consensus in the context of a discussion about the concepts, but 
are now being used to describe the language constructs.  I think this is a large 
part of what is causing my confusion.

(It also doesn't help that you have elsewhere said that what is being defined is 
*not* a language, but a model; cf. 


> Thanks for your input, we will use it in the next iteration, as indicated in the
> previous email.
> Regards,
> Luc
> On 02/09/2011 15:35, Graham Klyne wrote:
>> (c) If what is being described is an assertion *about* a thing, then I think
>> the term "Entity" is completely misleading. "Assertion" would be better, IMO.
Received on Friday, 2 September 2011 20:45:33 UTC

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