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Re: wildcard resource representation

From: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2007 22:58:11 +0200
Message-Id: <4C7A2F40-65AC-4DC0-8CD5-80A5B4A7EA1D@cyganiak.de>
Cc: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
To: Garret Wilson <garret@globalmentor.com>


On 1 Aug 2007, at 16:37, Garret Wilson wrote:
>>> That means that the rules applies to some identified resource.  
>>> But is there any convention for identifying "any resource"? I see  
>>> several options:
>> That's why we have blank nodes.
>> [] a eg:Rule;
>>     eg:appliesTo [ a rdfs:Resource ];
>>     .
>> This says that the rule applies to "anything that has rdf:type  
>> rdfs:Resource".
>> Since, in fact, *everything* is of type rdfs:Resource, this is  
>> redundant, and can be stated simply as
>> [] a eg:Rule;
>>     eg:appliesTo [];
>>     .
>> "This rule applies to anything."
> Are you sure about that? This is interesting, because I would have  
> thought that the above says, "This rule applies to a resource, but  
> we don't know which one it is because it isn't identified."

You are right, I was wrong.

[] a eg:Rule;
     eg:appliesTo [];

This doesn't say, like I claimed, "This rule applies to anything". It  
says "This rule applies to something". Blank nodes are indeed unnamed  
variables, but they are existentially quantified variables, not  
universally quantified variables.

(((There is some prior art for using blank nodes the way I tried. For  
example, in SPARQL, you can write:

   [] a foaf:Person; foaf:name "Garret"; foaf:mbox ?email;

and the blank node will match *any* person that has the specified  
properties. Blank nodes in SPARQL are different. This is what got me  

>> [] a eg:Rule;
>>     eg:appliesTo [ a foaf:Person; foaf:name "Garret" ];
>>     .
>> "This rule applies only to people called Garret."
> Does it apply to all people named "Garret", or only to a single  
> person (we don't know which) named "Garret"?

The latter.

> Try this:
> <http://example/org/singers/BritneySpears> a foaf:Person;
>    eg:hasChild [ a foaf:Person; foaf:name "Sean" ];
>    .
> Or just in case I got the N3 wrong, here it is in RDF/XML:
> <foaf:Person rdf:about="http://example/org/singers/BritneySpears">
>  <eg:hasChild>
>    <foaf:Person foaf:name="Sean"/>
>  </eg:hasChild>
> </foaf:Person>
> Does this mean that Britney Spears has as children all the people  
> in the world named "Sean"? Or does it simply mean that Britney  
> Spears has a single child; we don't have a URI identifier for this  
> child, but we know his name is Sean? I would think the latter, and  
> the implications of your first interpretation would probably  
> disrupt a lot of ontologies.

You are right.

Thanks for the correction.


>>>    * If I assume that the resources are people with emails, I  
>>> could use
>>>      <mailto:*.*>. But that doesn't seem general enough---it's  
>>> almost
>>>      too much of a hack.
>> I'm pretty sure this violates a couple of RFCs.
> (I meant <mailto:*@*>, of course.) Yeah, I thought it might violate  
> a couple of RFCs, too, but I couldn't find any. If you do, please  
> let me know.
>>>    * Maybe there's a wildcard URI out there---that is, perhaps
>>>      <urn:uuid:1234...> is universally agreed upon as the wildcard
>>>      resource. But I'm not holding my breath that this exists.
>> That's a bit like asking "Is there a wildcard number around? Maybe  
>> 1234 is universally adgreed upon as the wildcard number?"
> Perhaps not numbers in general, but with numbers used as IDs it is  
> certainly common practice. Think of a multi-threaded produce/ 
> consume list where you need to kill the consuming thread; it's  
> common to send some predefined "kill" object to be consumed by the  
> other thread. Also, if you have a method returning only positive  
> integers, you might send -1 to mean error (or to mean "all"). Using  
> a number outside the valid range to mean other things is common.  
> When numbers are used as IDs, you expect them to have unique  
> properties anyway, so using one UUID to mean something different  
> like "all things" shouldn't be a problem.
>>>    * Maybe I could create my own wildcard URI: <eg:wildcard>. But  
>>> that
>>>      seems too specific to my ontology.
>> "Maybe I could define my own wildcard number ..." ;-)
> Some Java libraries do something similar sometimes by using  
> Integer.MAX_INTEGER to mean "infinity".
> Garret
Received on Wednesday, 1 August 2007 20:59:00 UTC

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