W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > September 2004

RE: web proper names

From: Hamish Harvey <david.harvey@bristol.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 20:59:01 +0100
Cc: h.halpin@ed.ac.uk, ht@inf.ed.ac.uk
To: "Patrick Stickler" <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>, JohnBlack@deltek.com, henry.story@bblfish.net, "RDFInterest" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1095883141.15830.204937316@webmail.messagingengine.com>

Patrick, John, et al.,

Regarding standardisation and URIQA, I wasn't intending to be
argumentative, I was just observing a difference. 

The meaning of a symbol in a programming language which has been adopted
from a natural language is not parasitic on the language from which it
is taken, although the meaning of the symbol in that language can
provide a starting point for a language learner's understanding. It is
entirely defined in the language standard, or by reference to (a)
standard implementation(s). The standardisation process can proceed by
negotiating to a position which is a balance of the most useful
semantics, the least ambiguous semantics, the most prevalent semantics
in extant implementations, and so on. Where symbols are taken to
indicate things in the outside world, where we can't even rely that
people (e.g. from different cultures) identify the same objects, the
problem has a new and exciting edge to it; you are standardising a world

The point about the benefit provided by a layer such as URIQA is taken.
In fact, given this new and exciting edge, the decentralised approach
(which URIQA provides some support for) is essential. Though I do still
want to find time soon to have a look at what can be learned from the
years of toil of the "ontological engineers" on the Cyc project.

On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 13:24:35 +0300, Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com said:

> > > And insofar as URIs are concerned, approaches such as URIQA
> > > specifically address the issue of "what does this URI mean?"
> > > in a formal, machine understandable manner.
> > 
> > Ummm, I like URIQA, but I'm not convinced it does this at 
> > all. A CBD can
> > be an answer the question "what does this URI mean?" IFF what 
> > it "means"
> > is a sequence of bytes which can be retrieved (and this is 
> > unambiguously
> > specified in an agreed RDF vocabulary). Otherwise all it can do is
> > provide a set of properties which (help to) establish identity of some
> > still inaccessible-to-the-machine entity. If URIQA is supposed to
> > provide meaning beyond identity it sounds like an entrance way to the
> > hermeneutic hall of mirrors [1]. 
> I was speaking colloquially. Let me put it a different way: URIQA
> provides efficient access to authoritative descriptions of resources
> which are expressed in a formal manner conformant with the RDF MT.
> Is that better?

OK, sorry if I was being excessively pedantic :) I tend to feel that
such colloquialisms aren't totally innocent, though; certainly they risk
perpetuating misunderstandings.

Received on Wednesday, 22 September 2004 19:59:03 UTC

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