W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-swbp-wg@w3.org > June 2004

RE: [VM,ALL] Revised scope statement

From: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 14:54:43 +0200
To: "Thomas Baker" <thomas.baker@bi.fhg.de>
Cc: "SW Best Practices" <public-swbp-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GOEIKOOAMJONEFCANOKCOEJHEFAA.bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>


> What you refer to as "contextual information" -- BT,
> NT, etc... -- is what I would call "semantic context".
> The thesaurus maintainers are using these relators to assert a
> semantic context for their own term.


> To my way of thinking, this semantic context is different from
> the identification context per se.  If a URI identifying a
> term is backed up by policies and explanations formulated by
> the coiners and maintainers of that URI, then to me that URI
> is not simply a "bare identifier".  Rather, the maintainers
> are be establishing for that URI an "identification context".

Interesting. Seems that you have clear ideas about this distinction between identification
and semantic context(s).
I'd be curious to see this expanded in the details (where the devil is hiding, as usual).
Does the identification context includes the application context? (e.g. scope of use,
protocols ...)

> Though the richer semantic context asserted for a term
> by its maintainers (i.e., the sum of its relators) must
> be understood in order to use the terms as intended, the
> "bare identifier" does not itself reflect or carry this
> semantic context.  Once a URI is used to identify something,
> it can in principle be used in SW assertions.  In principle,
> "anyone" could assert a different or even a semantically
> perverse context for someone else's thesaurus term, but that
> does not mean one cannot or should not make such assertions.

Sure. People misusing language does not prevent dictionaries and grammars to be useful :)

> > IOW, relationships between identification and contextual definition are tricky to
> > entangle, and setting generic term identification valid for *any* context seems very
> > difficult (read : barely possible).
> In my understanding, the whole idea of Semantic Web is
> based on the notion of citing and reusing and recombining
> and referencing and repurposing and merging data from a
> diversity of sources, and it is well recognized that doing
> so can in principle violate the semantic intent of the
> source data.  To question whether it ever makes sense to use
> terms independently of their application context would seem
> to question the very idea of Semantic Web.

I disagree on that. Relativity of identification (what an URI identifies depends on the
application context) is questioning the SW idea iff one assumes the SW is bound to be a
single, univocal, application context. If this latter assumption is part of the SW
definition, well, yes, I'm questioning it strongly, because I think it's plainly
unsustainable. But if the SW, like the plain Web, is bound to be composed of many, more or
less orthogonal, application contexts, then there is no contradiction between the SW idea
and the relativity of identification.

> I don't think
> that is what you are saying, but I do think one can and must
> distinguish between how maintainers "make sense" for a term
> (which I see as largely out of scope for the VM note) and
> what simply establishes identity and makes terms referencable
> by others, "sensibly" or not.

What (simply?) establishes identity is identifier + application context.

<snip> stuff we agree upon </snip>

> We seem to be agreeing :)  Would you want to sign up?

I'll try at least to make it for the telecon - if any. Has it been set up yet?


Bernard Vatant
Senior Consultant
Knowledge Engineering
Mondeca - www.mondeca.com
Received on Thursday, 17 June 2004 08:54:49 UTC

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