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Re: peer-to-peer was Re: Distributed querying on the semantic web

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 11:31:25 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: public-sw-meaning@w3c.org

[Transferring a discussion from RDF-IG...]

At 16:16 24/04/04 -0400, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
>I also believe that there already is sufficient machinery in the Semantic
>Web to support a combination of (2) and (3), namely owl:imports.  Yes, I
>would like something better, perhaps to allow for publishers of information
>to provide sub-document groupings of information.  Bijan Parsia and I have
>a poster paper at WWW2004 on this topic, available at
>(unless you read this message soon after it is posted, in which case the
>slow web publishing mechanisms I have may not have got around to noticing

Reading this paper, I find the approach presented to be compelling.  The 
clear explanation of potentially complex issues is helpful.  I like the 
articulation that dissent is allowed and consent is easily expressed.

I note that the work [1] by Jeremy Carroll, et al, might well provide a 
means for referencing parts of web documents (though that does presume that 
the source document is somehow partitioned to allow the desired granularity 
of selective inclusion).

It's not clear to me the extent that you are proposing that meaning can be 
imported from sources opaque to Semantic Web reasoning.  You allow for 
possible augmentation to "Semantic Web meaning to be contingent on a set of 
Semantic Web languages that the system understands" -- by "Semantic Web 
meaning", I understand you to mean the aspects of meaning that manipulated 
by a Semantic Web reasoner.  But in talking about communities of consent, 
there will always (I believe) be aspects of meaning that are not amenable 
to such processing;  it seems to be reasonable that a SWeb document should 
be able to indicates its author's intent to be conformant to such meanings, 
maybe by reference to a human-readable description of such meaning.  Maybe 
this is what you mean by "There is nothing ... that prevents software 
systems from augmenting, or even replacing, the Semantic Web meaning with 
their own notions of meaning"?

Do you see in this proposal the basis of a mechanism to determine whether a 
document coded in RDF is intended to include the additional language 
constraints on interpretation that are required of an OWL document?  I 
could imagine a URI whose importation would be equivalent to a declaration 
of adherence to OWL semantics, not just RDF semantics, but for which there 
is no machine-readable document that actually asserts the additional 

I would guess that if, as you suggest, the imports notion is picked up by 
RDF, then it would import the RDF meaning of a document rather than its OWL 
meaning.  Another approach might be to augment the import relation to 
permit expression of the semantics being imported.  Following a pattern of 
"interpretation properties" [2] suggests maybe an open-ended set of such 
properties (maybe all sub-properties of "rdfs:seeAlso" [3]), each of which 
operates on a defined level of semantics;  e.e. rdf:imports relates RDF 
graphs; owl:imports relates OWL ontologies, etc.


[1] http://www.wiwiss.fu-berlin.de/suhl/bizer/SWTSGuide/carroll-iswc2004.pdf

[2] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/InterpretationProperties.html

[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-schema/#ch_seealso

Graham Klyne
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Received on Tuesday, 27 April 2004 06:45:11 UTC

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