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How to name what you get back? was: Terminology Question concerning Web Architecture and Linked Data

From: Chris Bizer <chris@bizer.de>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2007 17:47:34 +0200
Message-ID: <00aa01c7cf9c$48a8ac50$418d2da0@wrz03715>
To: "Frank Manola" <fmanola@acm.org>
Cc: "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>, <www-tag@w3.org>, <semantic-web@w3.org>, "Linking Open Data" <linking-open-data@simile.mit.edu>

Hi Frank, Pat and Bernard,

thanks a lot for all your ideas and comments.

So what we are having on the table right now is a definition:

"The term XXX refers to the description of a non-information resource 
that a client obtains by dereferencing a specific URI that identifies 
this non-information resource."

and various proposals for the term:

Pat Hayes:
- represented description
- redirected description
- redescription
- transmit
- infon

Frank Manola
- associated representation

Bernard Vatant:
- description

Some (of course subjective) comments: Like Bernard already stated, 
"redescription" sounds temporal. You describe something, then you 
redescribe it afterwards. Transmit and infon sound like Sci-Fi to me. 
Redirected description is a good explanation of what is happening, but 
maybe a bit to technical, process-oriented.
I think Frank's term "representation" does not work from the technical 
side, as you get redirected to an information resource, which has a 
representation and this representation contains the data we are 
talking about. But the representation of this information resource 
might also contain lots of data about other resources. For instance, 
when you think about a vocabulary definition as in the "Best Practices 
for Publishing RDF Vocabularies" guide 
http://www.w3.org/TR/swbp-vocab-pub/. I like Frank's idea of using the 
word "associated" as this term in also used throughout the TAG 
"Dereferencing HTTP URIs" document 
http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/httpRange-14/2007-05-31/HttpRange-14.

So, when I try to merge all these ideas and thoughts, I end up with 
"associated description".

What do you think about this term?
Anybody strongly disagreeing?

A problem that remains with this term is that it is rather technical 
and therefore does not work well as a replacement for data item in the 
introduction of our tutorial.

For instance: The sentence "A basic tenet of Linked Data is to use RDF 
links to interlink data items from different data sources." would 
become "A basic tenet of Linked Data is to use RDF links to interlink 
associated descriptions from different data sources." Cough, cough :-)

But anyhow, the term "associated description" will work in the 
remaining technical chapters of the tutorial and we can save ourselves 
in the introduction by saying "A basic tenet of Linked Data is to use 
RDF links to interlink data from different data sources".

Cheers

Chris


--
Chris Bizer
Freie Universitšt Berlin
Phone: +49 30 838 54057
Mail: chris@bizer.de
Web: www.bizer.de

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Frank Manola" <fmanola@acm.org>
To: "Chris Bizer" <chris@bizer.de>
Cc: "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>; <www-tag@w3.org>; 
<semantic-web@w3.org>; "Linking Open Data" 
<linking-open-data@simile.mit.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 10:44 PM
Subject: Re: Terminology Question concerning Web Architecture and 
Linked Data



Chris--

This probably indicates that I haven't gone back far enough in the
prior discussion (or still don't understand various details of the
Web architecture), but what's wrong with "representation"?  That is,
you're asking for "a term for "the information which you get about
the thing identified by it when you look up a URI".  I thought what
you got back when you dereferenced a URI was a "representation".  And
I thought that the difference between dereferencing the URI of an
information resource vs. that of a non-information resource is that:

(a) for a non-information resource there's supposed to be some
indirection messaging that goes on between the original dereferencing
and you getting a representation back, and

(b) the representation you get back doesn't contain all the
"essential characteristics" of the identified resource.

But you still get a representation back.  That is in fact what your
tutorial says. Under the heading "Dereferencing HTTP URIs", the last
sentence of the bullet that describes what happens for non-
information resources says "In a second step, the client dereferences
this new URI and *gets a representation* describing the original non-
information resource" [my emphasis].

I think I understand the sort of distinction you're getting at,
something like, as Pat suggests, the difference between getting a
copy (of sorts) of the thing itself vs. getting a "description" (in
some sense) of it, but if that's it, I'm not sure an entirely new
piece of terminology is what's needed.  Operationally the only way we
have of knowing whether a URI names an information resource or a non-
information resource is (at least in the tutorial) whether
redirection happens when we dereference it.  In the scenarios we're
talking about, the redirection is (as I understand it) ultimately to
the URI of an *information resource* (with its own URI) that
describes (in some sense) the original non-information resource.  The
draft TAG finding a http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/
httpRange-14/2007-05-31/HttpRange-14 refers to this redirected-to
information resource as an "associated information resource" (without
necessarily intending to introduce that as a defined term).
Following those lines though, how about calling what you're after an
"associated representation"?  That is, when you dereference the URI
of a non-information resource, what you get back (after redirection)
is an "associated representation" (the details of the association
being determined by the details of the redirection).

-Frank

On Jul 25, 2007, at 12:44 PM, Chris Bizer wrote:

> Hi Frank,
>
>> I'd seriously suggest you look for some alternative  to "data 
>> item" for the concept in question.
>
> OK, but this leads to a question which I accutally wanted to try to 
> avoid asking on this list.
>
> Hmm, I will do it anyway and see what happens ;-)
>
> Question 4: What term should we use instead?
>
> Cheers,
>
> Chris
>
>
> --
> Chris Bizer
> Freie Universitšt Berlin
> Phone: +49 30 838 54057
> Mail: chris@bizer.de
> Web: www.bizer.de
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Frank Manola" <fmanola@acm.org>
> To: "Chris Bizer" <chris@bizer.de>
> Cc: "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>; <www-tag@w3.org>; <semantic- 
> web@w3.org>; "Linking Open Data" <linking-open-data@simile.mit.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 6:07 PM
> Subject: Re: Terminology Question concerning Web Architecture and 
> Linked Data
>
>
>> Chris--
>>
>> I appreciate that we run into terminology conflicts all the time 
>> around here, but I'd seriously suggest you look for some 
>> alternative to "data item" for the concept in question.  An awful 
>> lot of people (particularly those involved with databases) are 
>> used to seeing "data  item" refer to something like a property or 
>> attribute (like "name" or  "age").  More specifically, they're 
>> used to seeing records as  containing multiple data items (or 
>> their values).  From that point of  view, the sentence "When you 
>> interpret the Web of Data as a set of  interlinked databases, a 
>> data item would equal a record in a specific  database." looks 
>> particularly strange.  As I say, I understand the  inevitability 
>> of terminology conflicts, but ...?
>>
>> Cheers!
>>
>> --Frank
>>
>> On Jul 25, 2007, at 10:12 AM, Chris Bizer wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> Hi Tim,
>>>
>>>> I can't think of a term for "the information which you get about 
>>>> the thing identified by it  when you look up a URI" which works 
>>>> for me.
>>>
>>>> It has of course the term "Representation" which connects an 
>>>> Information Resource and the (metadata, bits) pair which you get 
>>>> back, which is different.
>>>
>>> As we did not want to repeat the definition all over the 
>>> tutorial, we ended up with a term called "data item".
>>>
>>> Within section 2.1 of the tutorial, we define the term as: "The 
>>> term data items refers to the description of a non-information 
>>> resource that a client obtains by dereferencing a specific URI 
>>> that identifies this non-information resource." (http:// 
>>> sites.wiwiss.fu- berlin.de/suhl/bizer/pub/LinkedDataTutorial/ 
>>> #aliases)
>>>
>>> Note that the definition is a bit more specific than your 
>>> sentence above, as it is restricted to non-information resources 
>>> and not things in general (assuming that your term "thing" refers 
>>> to non- information resources as well as information resources).
>>>
>>> We were also struggling to find a good word that matches the 
>>> concept and have chosen "data item" in the end as it somehow 
>>> relates to the overall term "Linked Data" and as we hope that 
>>> people from the database community will understand the second 
>>> informal definition of the term: "When you interpret the Web of 
>>> Data as a set of interlinked databases, a data item would equal a 
>>> record in a specific database."
>>>
>>> Cheers
>>>
>>> Chris
>>>
>
Received on Thursday, 26 July 2007 15:51:52 GMT

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