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Re: Information resources?

From: Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>
Date: Thu, 09 Sep 2004 15:40:16 -0400
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-id: <877jr3p6xr.fsf@nwalsh.com>
/ Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org> was heard to say:
|> / Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org> was heard to say:
|> | I don't think dogs and cars are obscure.  It's hard to work with RDF
|> | for a day without having URIs for people, organizations, books,
|> | conferences, etc, ... and being stuck with the very real problem of
|> | distinguishing between those things and web pages about those things.
|> In what context have you had this problem?
| [read on]
|> I have used the URI 'http://xmlns.com/wordnet/1.6/Hoary_Marmot' to
|> identify the Hoary Marmot (really, I'm serious[1]). If I GET a
|> representation of that URI, I get some RDF that tells me things about
|> the Marmot. I consider that data to be a representation of the
|> physical creature.
| To clarify, by "the Marmot" and "the physical creature", you
| mean the class of Hoary Marmots, right? 

Yes, the class of animals that are Hoary Marmots. I was careless.

| There is a particular
| instance of that class which you seem to identify as
| "http://norman.walsh.name/knows/what#hoary-marmot".

No, that's the class too. I'm a bit schizophrenic about whether or not
I make up URIs for things or use the WordNet URIs. For the purpose
of this discussion, the nwn/knows/what URI is a red herring. :-)

|> Assertions that http://xmlns.com/wordnet/1.6/Hoary_Marmot is a web
|> page or has a particular creator or last modified date or
|> what-have-you are inconsistent.
| How could web client software not have such assertions interally,
| whether or not expressed as RDF?  My RDF web client software [2],
| Do you see a way around this problem, other than by having wordnet
| switch to using some kind of indirection as I've suggested? 

Yes. Change your code so that it does not implicitly make assertions
about the things identified by URIs based on the metadata it gets back
From doing retrieval operations.

At the very least, don't make those implicit assertions if what you
get back is an RDF representation. Assume the RDF tells you everything
that the publisher wished you to know about the resource. If you want
to use the other metadata to make your application smarter about
caching, by all means do so, but don't assume that because you got an
expires header back that you can assert that the resource expires at
the specified time.

Your system does not have to make those assertions and if I want to
make those assertions, I can make them in a different way.

| Wordnet
| (as currently published at http://xmlns.com/wordnet/1.6/) is one of
| the few vocabularies with this problem; I expect to motivate DanBri
| to fix it soon.  

What fix do you propose? http://xmlns.com/wordnet/2.0#Hoary_Marmot is
just a complete non-starter given that the representation is on the
order of 14Mb.

I suppose http://xmlns.com/wordnet/2.0/Hoary_Marmot#entity is a
possibility, but it sure is ugly.

                                        Be seeing you,

Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM / XML Standards Architect / Sun Microsystems, Inc.
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Received on Thursday, 9 September 2004 19:40:42 UTC

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