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Re: My task from last week: Semantic free identifiers

From: James Malone <malone@ebi.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2011 21:14:14 +0100 (BST)
Message-ID: <60065.>
To: "Sivaram Arabandi, MD" <sivaram.arabandi@gmail.com>
Cc: "Chime Ogbuji" <chimezie@gmail.com>, "Andrea Splendiani" <andrea.splendiani@bbsrc.ac.uk>, "Vagnoni,Matthew M" <mmvagnoni@mdanderson.org>, "James Malone" <malone@ebi.ac.uk>, "HCLS" <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
Re: reasons for semantic free identifiers

I think it depends on how you are using your data + schema. It may be the
case that, for the most part, taking for granted the URI fragment or even
just the label for a class and predicate gets you very far. I think it
probably does in a lot of cases. Except when it doesn't. And in these
cases it can do more harm than good. Is my http://experiment the same as
yours?  Is my http://gene? http://study? Does my gene http://leads_to
disease make sense? My experience working in the ontology community is
that the primary use case for semantic-free identifiers is that it makes
you understand the schema (ontology). The ontology's job is not to make it
simple to write a SPARQL query but to make meaning precise and unambiguous
even if sometimes this makes writing a SPARQL query painful.

I can't speak on the tooling problem other than to say I'm surprised if
there isn't a solution to this. If so, sounds like a gap in the market for
an enterprising person...


> I couldn't "agree" more with Andrea and Chime on this one. And would
> to see some good reason(s) for us to continue to be burdened by them.
The standard answer - 'tooling can help in managing the readability
aspects' has been heard several times, and yet everyone seems to pass
around 'raw RDF or SPARQL snippets with readable URIs' - for sure these
will be absolutely unreadable if we were to use totally opaque
> identifiers.
> I recently had a discussion on this topic with Michel (during Semtech)
> this exact line of thinking that Mark alluded to in his email came up:
> 	"though I guess, for them, "partOf" *is* opaque... so...??  Perhaps
> argument is somewhat spurious??"
> --Sivaram
> ____________________________
> Sivaram Arabandi, MD, MS
> Ph:  216.374.2883
> http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?SivaramArabandi
> http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sivaram-arabandi/1/9ab/92a
> On Jun 20, 2011, at 3:34 PM, Chime Ogbuji wrote:
>> On Monday, June 20, 2011 at 3:08 PM, Andrea Splendiani wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> sorry to jump on this thread like this...
>>> To be honest, I'm kind of concerned by the insistence on
>>> semantic-opaque
>>> identifiers.
>> I am as well and I have been for some time.
>>> I understand the reason for them,
>> Actually, I would be interested in hearing the reason for them
>> enumerated, because I have had a hard time imagining what could
>> offset the (significant) impact on readability that it has on
>> ontologies.  The barrier is already high for non-logicians and
>> non-semantic web aficionados to use biomedical ontologies.  Why set it
any higher?
>> -- Chime

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Received on Monday, 20 June 2011 20:14:59 UTC

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