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Re: Never mind the syntax, feel the semantics

From: Adrian Walker <adrianw@snet.net>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 16:38:29 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Misha Wolf <Misha.Wolf@reuters.com>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org, iptc-metadata@yahoogroups.com

Misha --

In this connection, you may be interested in a proposed measure of semantic 
distance in [1] .   (Apologies if you already saw this info in a previous 

It measures the ambiguity (number of different meanings) you get if you 
climb up an abstraction hierarchy in Namespace1, up to a node that is 
shared with Namespace2, then climb down in Namespace2.

[2,3] are simple examples, using the measure, that you can view and run by 
pointing a browser to our site [4].

There are step-by-step English explanations of the reasoning.

If you have a concrete example you can describe in a few sentences, we 
would be interested in adding it to the live browser-based demos at our site.

HTH,    -- Adrian


[2]  http://www.reengineeringllc.com/demo_agents/SemanticResolution1.agent

[3]  http://www.reengineeringllc.com/demo_agents/SemanticResolution2.agent

[4]  http://www.reengineeringllc.com


Adrian Walker
Reengineering LLC
PO Box 1412
CT 06011-1412 USA

Phone: USA 860 583 9677
Cell:    USA  860 830 2085
Fax:    USA  860 314 1029

At 07:26 PM 6/23/2005 +0100, you wrote:

>I'll start by mentioning that I've put on a hard hat and a flame-
>retardant cape, just in case I need them.
>It's also worth reiterating Stu's mention of my long involvement
>with DC.  See, for example, RFC 2413 (Dublin Core Metadata for
>Resource Discovery), dating from 1998:
>    http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2413.txt
>As I've mentioned in previous postings, the News Architecture
>Working Party of the International Press Telecommunications Council
>(IPTC) is actively examining the use of DC for those of our metadata
>elements where there is a good semantic fit.  Having been involved
>with DC all those years ago, I had assumed that this would be a
>relatively pain-free matter.  I was wrong.  Consider the humble
>title.  RFC 2413 defines this as:
>    The name given to the resource, usually by the Creator or
>    Publisher.
>The current official DC documentation states:
>    Definition: A name given to the resource.
>    Comment   : Typically, Title will be a name by which the resource
>                is formally known.
>Ouch!  This comment may well work for the Library community.  It
>certainly does not work for many other communities, such as Web page
>authors, professional photographers, or news organisations.
>If I change the title of one of the hundreds of Web pages I maintain,
>I am most certainly not changing "a name by which the resource is
>formally known".
>The same applies to a professional photographer changing the title
>of one of thousands of photos on her/his computer.
>And the same applies to a news story ... the title (ie headline) is
>most certainly not any kind of formal name.
>So we have a problem.  If the Semantic Web is to work, it is not
>enough to employ some common syntax or even a common abstract model.
>We need to be able to share meaning.  And this is obviously a
>balancing act between having definitions that are so broad that they
>become meaningless and definitions that are so narrow that they fit
>only one community and are not shareable.  Those of us working on
>the architecture of mainstream news standards, perceive the comment
>associated with dc:title as being on the latter end of the spectrum.
>And so, as Chair of the IPTC News Metadata Framework WG, I am asking
>the DC community to reconsider the text of the comment accompanying
>the definition of dc:title.
>Many thanks,
>Misha Wolf
>Standards Manager, Reuters
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Received on Thursday, 23 June 2005 20:38:40 UTC

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