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Re: Open Library and RDF

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 09:55:43 +0200
Message-ID: <AANLkTi=jW=nQH3ez6mtLYhGGv-m5EChbK2o6VqWJ_0GC@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Young,Jeff (OR)" <jyoung@oclc.org>
Cc: Karen Coyle <kcoyle@kcoyle.net>, public-lld@w3.org
On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 2:07 AM, Young,Jeff (OR) <jyoung@oclc.org> wrote:
> Dan,
> People in our community mistakenly believe that foaf:Person is
> unsuitable for use because of foaf:geekcode and other such properties.
> Specialized models, including library models, are completely arbitrary.

Can you say a bit more about what you mean by 'arbitrary' here?

> I encourage you to keep your model as simple and intuitive as possible
> and encourage specialized communities to do this instead:
> ex:Person a owl:Class ;
>        owl:equivalentClass foaf:Person .

Yes, I've heard that concern before, and this revision contains some
steps towards addressing this.

* some old 'demo' and fun terms have been flagged 'archaic' (although
they will remain mentioned in the spec, as it is anti-social to
pretend a piece of vocab never existed).
* substantial chunks of the spec's text have been moved to the Wiki;
this will continue, so the footprint of a term within the main body of
the spec text can be substantially reduced. Each term has a wiki page
now, as standard.
* The 'at a glance' overview of FOAF at top of spec now separates the
'Webby' properties from core people properties and is more explicit
about cultural heritage aspects use cases for FOAF.

I think this goes a healthy way towards reducing the perception of
needless frivolity. The project has in fact always been a quite
serious endeavour, despite the light tone. Serious both in the sense
of promoting the notion of a Web of inter-linked RDF files, but also
in terms of global ambition - I want young people discovering the Web
to see a direct parallel between the friends and links they find in
modern online 'social network' contexts, and the older, sometimes
drier links that connect them via chains of collaboration, friendship
and family to Paul Erdős, Marie Curie, Kevin Bacon, or Charles Darwin.
And for the data to be there that makes those chains explicit and
accessible to all. So in that sense, the bridging of 'social Web' and
historical data is absolutely intended. However I don't want to
embarrass anyone in a professional context with 'silly' properties,
and I feel they have served their purpose of making a fun, accessible
project that felt approachable and open to experimentation. So it is
quite natural for things like 'geekcode' or 'dnaChecksum' to end up as
historical footnotes now, and the emphasis to move towards finding fun
things to do with the massive amounts of data we now have on hand.

Many of the original use cases in
http://www.foaf-project.org/original-intro stemmed from the background
Libby and I had in the digital library and subject gateway community,
so at the risk of repeating myself here I'd like to get to the bottom
of any 'x felt they couldn't use it because y' stories that are
mentioned. Other things I've heard mentioned are that there is no long
term organizational backing behind the namespace yet, or that it isn't
a 'proper standard' of some kind. The more explicit people are when
describing obstacles, the more active we can be in addressing them.

All that said, it is of course more than fine to express a link to the
Web of FOAF data via owl:equivalentClass.


Received on Sunday, 15 August 2010 07:56:16 UTC

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