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RE: InverseFunctional properties are the new URI?

From: John Black <JohnBlack@deltek.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 07:30:54 -0400
Message-ID: <CBEA695878CA104ABC6E74C6B176927507BE36@DLTKVMX2.ads.deltek.com>
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>
Cc: "Graham Klyne" <GK@ninebynine.org>, "Damian Steer" <damian.steer@hp.com>, <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>

> From: Charles McCathieNevile
> Sent: Monday, August 02, 2004 10:49 PM
> 
> On Mon, 2 Aug 2004, John Black wrote:
> 
> >> From: Graham Klyne
> >> At 22:26 29/07/04 +0100, Damian Steer wrote:
> >> >"You can always solve a problem by introducing another layer
> >> of indirection."
> >> >
> >> >So true :-)
> >>
> >> I remember Guha saying something similar when presenting the
> >> Reference-by-Description ideas as used in TAP, and then
> >> adding that in the
> >> case of TAP this reduced the number of URIs that must be
> >> globally agreed
> >> (for effective exchange of information in an open-ended 
> community of
> >> interested parties) by some orders of magnitude, thus could
> >> be regarded as
> >> a valuable deployment of that old panacea.
> >
> >Reducing by orders of magnitude the number of URIs needed to identify
> >objects is a good thing. But it intensifies the problem of 
> establishing
> >global agreement on the references of the URIs of classes 
> and properties.
> >How is this done? or can it be done at all? Is it any easier 
> to come to a
> >global agreement on the extension of a class than on the identity of
> >an object?
> 
> Essentially this is the same problem as agreeing on what any 
> new term means -
> what is "identity" and "meaning" and for that matter "the 
> semantic web"? For
> the last few thousand years of doing this people have muddled towards
> solutions where they get rough agreement and some discussion 
> that goes along
> until it breaks down over terms, and then they look at what 
> broke and try to
> produce a new indirection that solves the problem for a bit longer.
> 
> The same thing happens with URIs - they can mean whatever you 
> want, but it is
> better if you manage to build systems that don't entail 
> contradictions, nor
> things that you know are not true. So we try to figure out 
> what other people
> mean by them.
> 
> Our software can tell us when it has a contradiction in mind, 
> and we can read
> the results of what it says and compare it to things we know.
> 
> Up to a point, the more we document vocabularies in real 
> human-readable ways
> (meaningful comments, not just a URI fragment that might look 
> a bit like a
> word) the easier it is for third parties to understand how 
> something is meant
> to be used. But as Jose Ramon AguŽra points out, you need to 
> actually check
> how the thing is being used, and be prepared to adapt in an 
> evolutionary
> feedback cycle - replace things that don't work and try to 
> explain how to
> migrate data to the replacement... (foaf:lastname)

Do you have any on-line references for Jose Ramon AguŽra's work 
that points this out?

> There is a criticism of the Semantic Web that this process 
> can never be
> finished. This is true, but irrelevant.

I believe it is true *and* relevant. But I would agree that the semantic 
web will thrive in spite of it. It is a problem that can be addressed.
I am looking for references of people who are working on solutions. 
I think I have found the right topic to search with, "Meaning 
Negotiation and Coordination". There is a workshop to be held at 3rd 
International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC-2004) 
http://dit.unitn.it/~bouquet/ISWC-04-MCN/

> The criticism itself, 
> and pretty
> much all human communication, needs to be revised from time 
> to time if it is
> going to be valid and comprehensible information.
> 
> There are some things in OWL that help automate this process - ways of
> versioning things that can be handled semi-automagically. 
> Understanding the
> provenance of a property definition and being able to deal 
> with it in a
> trust-aware web will help more. As people use URIs more in a 
> single, global
> framework we are getting to understand the consequences, and 
> modifying our
> usage. But it's a slow process to get consensus around the 
> world - even the
> fraction of the world who use the Web to produce semantically enriched
> information in RDF. And it isn't an exact science. Still, it 
> only has to be
> better than what we have now to be better...
>
> Cheers
> 
> Chaals
> 
Received on Tuesday, 3 August 2004 07:31:08 UTC

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