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Re: tools for using opaque uris

From: Adrian Walker <adrianw@snet.net>
Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 19:18:15 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Phil Dawes" <pdawes@users.sourceforge.net>
Cc: www-rdf-interest@w3.org

Hi Phil -

I seem to have missed your 2nd of April enquiry, in which you wrote:

"...what would be the advantages/disadvantages of working in a world where 
URIs contain little human-readable information? "

So, apologies, the following comment comes in late for your survey.

I'd argue that it's perfectly OK to use human-unreadable URI's, since RDF 
in general is intended for machines, not people to read.

But then, you might well reply, people can then have no understanding of 
what the machines are doing, and hence there is no control, trust, or 
accountability.  There is a "semantic disconnect" between people and 
machines, and the system is useless.

Yet suppose there were a way of translating automatically from English to 
RDF, and from RDF to English.  Then, the human-level English meanings would 
be tied firmly to the RDF machine semantics.

This approach is elaborated in the "Semantic Web Presentation" at 
www.reengineeringllc.com .

There's also an implemented system, called "Internet Business Logic" that 
illustrates how this can be done.

HTH.  Thanks in advance for comments.         -- Adrian

                                            INTERNET BUSINESS LOGIC


Dr. Adrian Walker
Reengineering LLC
PO Box 1412
CT 06011-1412 USA

Phone: USA 860 583 9677
Cell:    USA  860 830 2085
Fax:    USA  860 314 1029

At 08:50 PM 5/17/04 +0100, you wrote:

>Hi All,
>I asked about human-opaque URIs on the list about a month ago[1], and the
>opinion from responses at the time seemed to indicate that persuing a
>URI scheme with little or no human-meaningful information was worth
>following up on.
>The advantages to me seem to be:
>- No chance of user misinterpreting the meaning of the URI by reading
>- Less information = better persistence.
>        - e.g. No desire to change the URI if the name of the thing it
>        identifies changes
>- I18n friendly.
>        - nobody can interpret the URI, so doesn't matter what language
>        it's in. RDFS:label has better multi-language support.
>- Easier to mint
>        - don't have to decide on an 'perfect' label for the URI when
>        creating it.
>Unfortunately the use of human-opaque URIs does have much greater
>infrastructure requirements to enable efficient use by humans.
>1) Most important is a URI information lookup service. Something like
>URIQA[2] is absolutely essential.
>Personally I'd say that such a service is essential anyway, but the
>usefulness really gets hammered home when you can't glean any
>information from the URIs yourself.  We currently use an HTTP GET
>against the URI and follow 303-see-other redirects to fulfill this
>requirement at work.
>2) Secondly, you need a way of identifying resources to users in a
>form they can understand without ambiguity.
>My experience has been that it's common to find multiple URIs with the
>same or similar labels, so our tools currently use a combination of
>label and type(label) to achieve this. It's not perfect, but it works
>for us in most cases.
>        Phil Dawes (Drkw Employee)
>        Phil Dawes (Person)
>        FxTrader (IT Register Product Entry)
>        FxTrader (FX Application)
>3) Thirdly you need a way of authoring free-form RDF in a
>human-readable fashion.
>Unfortunately I don't currently have a workable solution for this, and
>this is impeding RDF as a first-class data authoring
>format. (practically all of our RDF is currently second hand,
>extracted from relational databases and LDAP directories).
>The main problem is that most human-oriented RDF authoring formats
>seem to use QNames, which doesn't work with this approach.
>I've written the veudas browser to use label/type information when
>displaying RDF resources, but it isn't great for entering RDF
>information yet.
>Does anybody know of any tools that might support authoring rdf in
>such an environment?
>(and does anybody have any experience or thoughts that might be
>relevant here?)
>Many thanks in advance,
>[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2004Apr/0005.html
>[2] http://sw.nokia.com/uriqa/URIQA.html
Received on Monday, 17 May 2004 19:26:28 UTC

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