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Re: article on URIs, is this material that can be used by the SWEO IG?

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Fri, 01 Jun 2007 22:36:19 +0100
Message-ID: <46609153.4040603@danbri.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
CC: www-tag@w3.org

Pat Hayes wrote:

>  				 None of this architectural doodlebugging 
> can ever attach a name to a thing that is not physically connected to 
> the Internet. Y'all seem to be blind to this very central fact.

I find the idea of being physically connected to the Internet pretty 
sketchy. I'm physically connected to my laptop, via it resting on my lap 
and touching it. My laptop is connected to my cable modem via some kind 
of radio waves, which is connected to my phone line via some kind of 
cable and adaptor box. The word "physically" isn't really helping me 
here. It's like asking where in the brain consciousness stops and mere 
physical perception starts. Rathole. Is my phone "physically connected" 
to the internet 'cos I can sync it via bluetooth thru my laptop? etc. 
Questions without interesting answers. I can't see how they tightly 
connect to issues of naming.

I'd rather couch it as: have the Internet *community* agreed some 
conventions for naming certain kinds of things, and writing down their 
agreed namings is a common syntax? So maybe the Internet community agree 
a way of naming countries using ISO country codes, and have a URN-based 
URI convention for naming them, in a way that is widely used without 
problem or confusion. That common understanding seems to me more 
pertinent than whether the named entities are "physically connected" to 
the Internet. Sure, Italy is, I guess. But why does that matter? How 
could I check?

> None of that will help. One can only use names which (are assumed to) 
> refer, in order to establish the referents of other names. There is no 
> way out of this circle, no way to 'anchor' or 'ground' the names in the 
> actual real world, without appealing at some point to an act of 
> perception. In everyday life, we point to things and say "that". On the 
> Web, *for information resources*, we rely on HTTP to go fetch us a 
> "representation" which is so exact a copy that we are satisfied that we 
> have accessed the original resource. But the combination of the Web and 
> non-information resources provides no way to anchor any name in the real 

That would be a kind of magic. But exchanging descriptions of things 
that can uniquely pick them out when interpreted in practice... that 
seems a fine use for Internet protocols. And embedding those identifying 
descriptions in Web documents seems somewhat useful too.

>> In ontologies I use, I introduce such properties, see here:
>> http://www.dfki.uni-kl.de/~sauermann/2006/01-pimo-report/pimOntologyLanguageReport.html#ch-IdentificationPimo 
>> we would need an W3C blessed property like this:
>> paul:Rome a pimo:City;
>> pimo:occurrenceRef http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome, 
>> <http://www.comune.roma.it/>.
> Not even the W3C has the power to make names refer. I have the greatest 
> respect for the W3C, but it is not God.

I think pimo:occurenceRef sounds just like isPrimaryTopicOf in FOAF. It 
doesn't (from the RDF layer's point of view) declare a name, ... but it 
is helpful (simply via being an OWL:InverseFunctionalProperty) when 
publishing and exchanging identifying descriptions.  A consumer of those 
descriptions in the RDF 1.0 environment has no idea which subsets of a 
graph are intended as identifying description, ie. playing a role 
something like a name, and which are just random assertions. But that's 
livable with I think. It is useful to be able to mention things and 
indirectly identify them through reference to documents and services 
that have more widely known identifiers. One trick amongst many, sure, 
but a useful tool in the toolkit.


Received on Friday, 1 June 2007 21:36:43 UTC

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