Re: Open Library and RDF

Dan and others
Expect input from the FRBR world real soon now on modelling persons as
bibliographic/cultural heritage entities - we will be discussing this tomorrow
and Monday, and I'll post stuff to the group as soon as I recover.

On 14 August 2010 at 20:48 Dan Brickley <> wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 12:02 AM, Young,Jeff (OR) <> wrote:
> > Karen Coyle wrote:
> >> This is exactly how I do think of these different definitions, but you
> >> and I appear to be in the minority. For example, when I was modeling
> >> the Open Library Author entity in RDF, I began by using RDA properties
> >> [1], not FOAF, because I felt that since the author information had
> >> primarily been derived from library data that rda:Person would be the
> >> most appropriate. But I got a great deal of push-back on the ol-tech
> >> list by folks who favored using FOAF, so I conceded (mainly in the
> >> interest of having the OL RDF accepted by active members of the
> >> community). I actually consider foaf:Person and rda:Person to be very
> >> different, as evidenced by the properties they contain and the goals
> >> and purposes of the metadata (I'm preparing a VERY LONG blog post on
> >> this topic). However, since FOAF didn't have some of the properties I
> >> needed, it ended up with some RDA properties being coded as relating
> >> to foaf:Person. I feel uneasy about that, but the end result doesn't
> >> seem to have any glaring violations of the meaning of the properties
> >> themselves.
> >
> > You and I agree that "Work" is a homonym and that "Person" is in the
> > same boat.
> >
> > I don't know if anyone noticed, but VIAF resources went through a
> > similar flip-flop between foaf and skos. I felt an a-ha moment when we
> > realized the generous possibility of supporting both at runtime using
> > Linked Data hash URIs <>. What the
> > heck, we added rdaEnt:Person last time around.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > In a future release, we can do even better by adding discrete Linked
> > Data HTML & RDF representations that focus on each model separately.
> Interesting stuff! Just a quick note to say that the FOAF spec is open
> again for revisions, improvements and tweaks.
> In particular, I published a revision last week which contained a new
> property foaf:focus which links skos:Concepts to the things that they
> stand for; this might help if you're sitting on a FOAF/SKOS fence.
> There is some possibility it'll be renamed in the short term (to
> 'standsFor' perhaps), due to clash with related use of 'focus' in ISO
> thesaurus specs. Currently I'm wavering a bit but leaning towards
> sticking with foaf:focus as the name, and adding some clarificatory
> text.
> has links and details.
> I'd also like to note that I've tried in this revision to make the
> spec work better for library and cultural heritage use, by
> partitioning a view of the spec "FOAF core" which doesn't include all
> the Webby stuff (homepage, openid, mbox); and also by reducing the
> visibility of some of the older 'demo' terms, which are now flagged as
> archaic vocabulary. There are few other ways that visibility can be
> further reduced (eg. removing from the default view of the per-class
> documentation) but for now I've focussed on the text at the top of the
> spec.
> I would be absolutely delighted if the LLD group cared to help refine
> FOAF's person vocabulary to better support library, cultural heritage
> scenarios, eg. by adding a few new properties. Once I'm back from
> vacation next week I hope to start joining the telecons and
> participating in this group more actively...
> > Libraries shouldn't shy away from incomplete and imperfect conceptual
> > models. Library school should have taught us all that objective reality
> > is impossible. :-)
> Objective reality teaches us the same thing ;)
> > I can sympathize with two arguments against this POV: 1) the information
> > is being maintained natively in RDF or 2) OL developers are being stingy
> > with the URI patterns you've been allocated. I can think of solutions
> > for the former. The fact that the URIs in your RDF aren't currently
> > Linked Data suggests the latter.
> [...]
> > Let's do it both ways! Invite FOAF, VCard, SKOS, and other ontologies to
> > the party. As we've discussed, though, I encourage you to avoid
> > conflating rdf:types under a individual's URI.
> I don't quite understand that last point. One thing with these kinds
> of computer languages is that their combination is somewhat out of the
> control of their creators. If some thing is a person (in the sense
> described in prose in ) then
> they just *are* a member of the class foaf:Person. Whether it is in
> some computer system / publication pragmatically useful to mention
> that fact is of course quite another matter.
> cheers,
> Dan

Received on Saturday, 14 August 2010 20:57:17 UTC