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Re: Terminology Question concerning Web Architecture and Linked Data

From: Christopher Brewster <C.Brewster@dcs.shef.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2007 23:10:35 +0200
Message-Id: <C3694725-12CC-4C08-A291-67F809DA247B@dcs.shef.ac.uk>
Cc: SW-forum Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, Linking Open Data <linking-open-data@simile.mit.edu>, www-tag@w3.org
To: "Chris Bizer" <chris@bizer.de>

> On 22 Jul 2007, at 22:29, Chris Bizer wrote:
>
>
> Hi Alan,
>
>> Thanks for the more detailed information. While I agree with the  
>> need  to be able to have a mechanism for making statements about  
>> URIs that  one doesn't mint, such as http://www.w3.org/People/  
>> Berners-Lee/  card#i, what I don't follow in your discussion is  
>> why such additional  statements need to be attached to an alias  
>> (in the sameAs sense) of  the original URI. It would seem worth  
>> justifying this in the light of  the associated costs of such aliases
>>
>> - The lower likelihood of successful "joins" in queries if a) Not  
>> all "sameAs"s are available to an agent or b) The agent's reasoner  
>> isn't capable of correctly handling sameAs
>> - The uncertain semantics of sameAs when taken out of the context  
>> of  the OWL specification.
>>
>> For instance, why not have e.g. dbpedia only name *resources*  
>> which  are understood as "community statements about" some  
>> subject, in which statements about tbl would use his designated  
>> name for himself?
>>
>
> Yes, in a perfect world you are right, but unfortunately, we are  
> not living in a perfect world.
>
> DBpedia is a good example for this. We are assigning URIs to  
> 1,600,000 resources and we don't have a clue which URIs we assign  
> to some town, molecules, flowers or planets. We even don't know if  
> we assign URIs to flowers at all, before we search within our  
> dataset for flowers.
>
> We do this because we want to create a useful open dataset in the  
> short term. If we would wait until there is community agreement in  
> each domain that DBpedia covers about a naming schema or wait until  
> each of the described resources has assigned a URI to itself, we  
> won't get anywhere. If there would be community agreement about  
> naming schemata (which there is not and I also do not expect such  
> agreement to evolve in the mid-future), the next problem would be  
> to bring some complicated infrastructure into place that allows  
> applications like DBpedia to find out that http://www.w3.org/People/ 
> Berners-Lee/card#i is only URI that should be used to refer to Tim  
> (think about stuff like URI SPAM and all the trust mechanism such  
> an infrastructure would need).
>
> So, I think that the approach of assuming that single URIs for  
> identifying real-world resources will evolve does not scale for  
> practical reasons.
>
>

Note that this idea (of naming everything in the domain, or even in  
the world) so as to allow perfect communication (in our terms to  
allow data to be linked and for the Semantic Web to work fully) has a  
long history  of failed attempts going back at least to the 16th  
century and the "philosophical language" or "universal language"  
movement. The prime exponent of this in the English language was  
Bishop John Wilkins who wrote “An essay towards a real character and  
philosophical language” (1668) which attempted to enumerate all of  
human knowledge at the time. Each concept was given a unique  
numerical heading. In order to achieve the necessary consensus  
Wilkins was a key initiator in the creation of the Royal Society to  
whom he entrusted the continuation of his work.

They never did carry it further ....

(Other great exponents of such ideas in the 16th and 17th centuries  
were Giordano Bruno, Gottfried Leibniz and the Czech educationalist  
Comenius)

Thus on historical grounds I would argue that Chris Bizer's approach.

Christopher
Received on Sunday, 22 July 2007 21:10:58 GMT

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