W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > July 2009

Re: Dons flame resistant (3 hours) interface about Linked Data URIs

From: Ian Davis <lists@iandavis.com>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 14:44:58 +0100
Message-ID: <ec8613a80907100644y687319b1nc54c424e57cbe0a5@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ian Emmons <iemmons@bbn.com>
Cc: semantic-web@w3c.org
On Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 2:14 PM, Ian Emmons <iemmons@bbn.com> wrote:

> On Jul 10, 2009, at 5:53 AM, Toby Inkster wrote:
>
>> The URL of the file and the URL of the subject of discourse must differ
>> so that we can make unambiguous statements about each, and make
>> statements about the relationship between the two.
>>
>
> If one takes the preceding statement as fact and then watches the video
> shared by Dan Brickley:
>
>     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4MwTvtyrUQ
>
> Then the only logical conclusion is that the SemWeb will never achieve
> widespread use.  If average folks can't distinguish between their browser
> and a search engine, how could we ever expect them to distinguish between
> the URI of the file and the URI of the subject of discourse?  The answer is
> that we can't.  So either the SemWeb will have correct KR, logical, and
> ontological underpinnings, or lots of people will publish data, but not
> both.


Your conclusion is only true if one assumes that not being able to
distinguish between the URI of the file and the URI of the subject is
essential for the semweb to get widespread use. We all get hung up about
correctness, but it will take time for people to absorb this distinction and
for many years to come we will have to deal with the situation where the
data is ambiguous. That is part of the ongoing adoption process of any
technology - very few are used in the way the inventors expected.

I think this is similar to the evolution of HTML where the original specs
included things like blockquote. Because that element wasn't useful for a
lot of people in its strictest sense they used it to do something else:
indentation. A decade or so later most people aren't doing that any more,
but it took several refinements of HTML, the creation of CSS and the long
advocacy of web standards group to change that.

Mixing up these URIs is very easy so it will happen many many times until
people learn to care about the difference. If we truly think it is important
then we will be able to show the reason for them to care, if not then
perhaps we are wrong.

One way I describe it for newcomers is that its the difference between
saying you suck and your page sucks.

In the meantime a lot of us will continue to publish linked data and  build
the tools and applcations that make use of it and we will demonstrate
success that way.

Ian
Received on Friday, 10 July 2009 13:45:34 UTC

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