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Re: Provenance and reification

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 11:43:37 -0600
Message-Id: <p05101035b817096791c3@[]>
To: Graham Klyne <GK@NineByNine.org>
Cc: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
>Following today's teleconference, I was thinking some more about 
>provenance (statements like document X says Y, possibly with other 
>The question raised was whether the statement (Y) referenced in an 
>assertion of provenance was a statement token, or some 
>lexically-based value, or an interpretation of (meaning of) the 
>Consider the case of a contract written in a foreign language.  My 
>lawyer may tell me that "the contact with abc, dated dmy, that I am 
>about to sign commits me to pay P pounds in return for some good Q". 
>This is a statement of provenance, but it is useless to me if it 
>simply quotes the content of the contract -- I want to know the 
>meaning (expressed in some language that I understand) of the 
>content of the contract.
>My point is that there is a clear argument for suggesting that 
>assertions of provenance should reference the meaning of the 
>referenced statements, not their lexical form.

Good point. On the other hand, you do want to say it was that 
particular document you signed, right, not some other document that 
just happened to mean the same thing (still less, *all* other 
documents that mean the same thing.) So I think that in a case like 
this we need at least two notions: the physical (token) document you 
actually signed, and the content (interpretation) of that token.

>Coming back to RDF:  the expression of provenance that I favour is 
>one along the lines of:
>     X contains statements Y
>     the content of X entails assert(Y)

Hmm, what does that 'assert' mean? (Why didn't you just say, X entails Y ?
(Is the idea that assert(Y) means the RDF triples you would get by 
de-reifying Y, so that Y is an object that can be unpacked, as it 
were, into triples ?)

>(there is no interpretation in which I(content of X) is true, and 
>I(assert(Y)) is false.)
>where X is an identifiable resource to which other properties can be added:
>     X saidBy Person .
>     X saidOn Date .
>     X approvedBy Authority .

This raises a classical issue in belief/attribution logics. Suppose 
that X said P and Q is entailed by P; did X say Q as well? The 
objection is that X may not have realized that P entails Q, and if he 
had realized it he may not have said P in the first place. We could 
take the position that it is up to X to check all the entailments of 
anything he claims to be true, but still I bet some lawyer is going 
to want to distinguish the case where X actually *said* Q from the 
case where X said something that entails Q.


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Received on Tuesday, 13 November 2001 12:43:20 UTC

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