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Re: When does a document acquire (web) semantics?

From: Andrea Splendiani <andrea.splendiani@bbsrc.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 23:26:20 +0000
Cc: w3c semweb HCLS <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>, Eric Prud'hommeaux <eric@w3.org>
Message-Id: <60FC734E-1EA0-4ACE-9889-87239FEAC609@bbsrc.ac.uk>
To: John Madden <john.madden@duke.edu>
Hi,

I think there are two aspects related to semantics.
One is interpretation (like: the world is flat by Mark). And this is in the ontology or, if you want, even in queries.
But there is also the fact that you "name" things when you expose a resource. The resource itself, or some info in more detail.
This naming is based on some common grounding without which you cannot apply ontologies or queries.

my 0.1 cents

ciao,
Andrea

On 1 Feb 2010, at 18:30, John Madden wrote:

> We had an interesting call in TERM today. One of the topics I would like to boil down to the question "When does a document acquire its semantics?" or, "when does a document come to mean something?"
> 
> I argued the (admittedly intentionally) radical view that documents have no semantics whatsoever until a reader performs an act of interpretation upon the document, which in the Semantic Web world would be the same as attributing an RDF/OWL graph to the document. 
> 
> Even if the author of the document attributes a a particular RDF/OWL graph to her won document, I argued that this graph is not privileged in any way. That others could justifiably argue that the author's own RDF/OWL graph is incomplete, or flawed, or irrelevant, or even incorrect. And the same is true of any subsequent interpreters (i.e. authors of RDF/OWL graphs that purport to represent the "meaning" of the same document).
> 
> Eric argued a really interesting point. He argued (and Eric, correct me if I'm interpreting you wrong here), that semantics instead come into existence (or perhaps *can* come into existence) at the point when somebody executes a SPARQL query on a set of RDF/OWL graphs. That is to say, maybe I'm wrong and semantics doesn't even come into existence when somebody attributes an RDF/XML graph to a document; but rather it only comes into existence when somebody queries across (possibly) many graphs of many different people.
> 
> What do you think?
> 
> John

---
Andrea Splendiani
Senior Bioinformatics Scientist
Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK
andrea.splendiani@bbsrc.ac.uk
+44(0)1582 763133 ext 2004
Received on Monday, 1 February 2010 23:26:58 GMT

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