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

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 18:40:16 -0700
Message-Id: <p06230908c283d0f8bb89@[192.168.1.4]>
To: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Cc: Leo Sauermann <leo.sauermann@dfki.de>, www-tag@w3.org

>Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) scripsit:
>
>>  3. There is a third good solution, which involves framing the problem
>>  differently.  It is what I called the "shadow ontology" approach:
>>  http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-swbp-wg/2006Jan/0171.html
>>
>>  This approach involves designing your ontology to *indirectly* refer
>>  to something that is not a web document, by use of a URI for a web
>>  document that describes that thing.
>
>This is what in the Topic Maps world is called a subject indicator:
>a document that is about the actual resource.

My problem is saying what exactly "about" means here. Informally the 
idea is clear, but it is very tricky to make this precise.

>  For example,
>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare is a subject indicator for
>Shakespeare.

But it also mentions Stratford-on-Avon, Mary Arden, and many other 
things. Why is it not just as much 'about' them?

>  The Topic Maps glossary defines a subject indicator as
>"a[n information] resource that is intended by the topic map author to
>provide a positive, unambiguous indication of the identity of a subject."

And what does THAT mean? This notion of a thing's "identity" seems to 
be very freely used in W3C circles, but I have no idea what it is 
supposed to mean. What kind of things have an "identity"? Does a 
grain of sand on a beach have an identity? It is certainly identical 
to itself: is that enough? Apparently Shakespeare has an identity, 
but I wouldn't recognize him if I were to meet him in the street. If 
someone were to tell me something about Shakespeare I would indeed 
feel that I knew who the fact was 'about', but is this anything more 
than just familiarity with the name? I would feel the same if someone 
were to use the name, say, "Rauschenberg", but about all I know about 
Robert Rauschenberg is that he is, or was, a notable American 
contemporary artist. Is this enough to give him an "identity"? How 
much information about a thing is enough to establish an identity for 
that thing?

Pat

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Received on Thursday, 31 May 2007 01:40:37 GMT

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