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Re: The RDF Approach to Indicating Language-In-Use

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 12:00:44 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <20031030.120044.110218297.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: phayes@ihmc.us
Cc: public-sw-meaning@w3.org

From: pat hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Subject: Re: The RDF Approach to Indicating Language-In-Use
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 10:10:45 -0600

> >From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
> >Subject: Re: The RDF Approach to Indicating Language-In-Use
> >Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 16:44:58 -0500
> >
> >>  > The *only* aspects of all of this that fall into the purview of the
> >>  > Semantic Web are an importing mechanism and the translation from a name to
> >>  > a namespace address.
> >>
> >>  Is owl:imports satisfactory as an importing mechanism?   (That is,
> >>  does OWL going to REC get you part 1?)
> >
> >As far as I am concerned, owl:imports is sufficient.  However, OWL going to
> >REC doesn't solve everyone's problems.  In particular, RDF is left without
> >an importing mechanism.
> I fail to see how an importing mechanism deals with the central 
> issues here. The main issue, to me, is what one should be able to do 
> with a URIref occurring inside RDF/RDFS/OWL/whatever in a document. 

Agreed.  Well, at least to the extent that the main isssue is what one
should be able to, or must, do when one sees a name in a formal document.  

> Should there be a presumption that the Web can(/may/oughtto) be used 
> to retrieve some kind of information which might be useful to an 
> agent (human or software) in drawing conclusions concerning that 
> URIref? 

Again agreed, at least to the extent of permitting/suggesting/requiring
use of some other document.

> If not, URIrefs in OWL (other than in owl:imports) are just 
> logical constants, so why the hell are we obliged to use URI syntax 
> in these languages? 

Only because the mechanisms for accessing documents in the WWW and Semantic
Web are based on URIs.  No other reason whatsoever, and here is the only
place that the particulars of the WWW and Semantic Web enter the picture at

> If so, what protocols/assumptions are to be 
> expected or invented to support the nature of these sources and how 
> to retrieve and use them? I personally don't find the former position 
> (importing does it all, URIrefs outside imports are meaningless) 
> acceptable: it reduces the SWeb to conventional ontologies which 
> happen to be on the Web, which may well be useful but isnt the vision 
> of the SW that gets me excited.

I haven't said that (the structure of) URIrefs outside document-importing
constructs is meaningless.  All I have said is that the only *required*
access to other documents is via some sort of importing mechanism.  I have
nothing against permitting the use of a document accessible after some
manipulation of the internal structure of a name, or even suggesting that
such use is often a good idea.  I do have strong feelings against requiring
the use of such documents, except in constructs that only involve such use.

> On the other hand, since our primary task is to produce some words, I 
> think that it is important not to say anything which would be 
> *inconsistent* with the conventional-ontologies-on-the-Web view, 
> since that is where the immediate industrial applications are.
> Pat


Received on Thursday, 30 October 2003 12:00:56 UTC

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