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Re: Cool URIs, the Semantic Web and Everything

From: Henry Story <Henry.Story@Sun.COM>
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 10:49:08 -0200
To: tim.glover@bt.com
Cc: michael.hausenblas@joanneum.at, semantic-web@w3.org
Message-id: <9C17B6B9-D6BB-421C-99C2-B468236E3ABA@Sun.Com>

On 31 Dec 2007, at 10:14, <tim.glover@bt.com> wrote:
> Michael,
>
> Great quiz! I would like to insert a third question - Q IIa: What does
> it mean? As one on the outer fringes on this community my answers are:
>
>
> QI. What is it? It is a string of characters.

Not necessarily. If it were to appear on a rock by pure chance, then  
it may not even be a string of characters. You could say it looks like  
one, but that would not make it one.  It is just incredibly unlikely  
that this should happen, so we immediately recognise it as a string of  
characters.


> QIIa. What does it mean? It depends on the context. In a software
> context this string of letters could represent a URI, a password, an
> encrypted sentence, a long integer... In the context of *semantic web
> software* its meaning is given by the specs, and I guess Richards  
> answer
> is authoritative. But it sounds as if there are several software specs
> that could be applied - I think your option 5 comes closest.

Meaning is language dependent. So of course to know what some sign  
means one has to make
sense of it within a language. That is part of the importance of mime  
types in the return
representation.

> Q II. What does it identify? Only a human interpreter can tell you.  
> And
> the law that says it can only possibly refer to one thing is mad and
> unenforceable.

Why human? How are humans so different from machines?

In RDF it is not at all impossible for the URI to identify one thing.  
It works very well.

You keep confusing these two it seems

<http://bblfish.net/people/card/henry#me> a foaf:Person .

and

"http://bblfish.net/people/card/henry#me"^^xsd:string  is foaf:name  
of  <http://bblfish.net/people/card/henry#me> .

As you see N3 makes it very easy to distinguish between the two,  
between the URI as string and the URI as identifier of a person. It is  
because you are trying to make sense of the string outside of a  
language, that you get confused.


>
>
> Tim.
>

Home page: http://bblfish.net/
Sun Blog: http://blogs.sun.com/bblfish/
Foaf name: http://bblfish.net/people/henry/card#me
Received on Monday, 31 December 2007 12:49:39 GMT

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