Contd. .htaccess a major bottleneck to Semantic Web adoption / Was: Re: RDFa vs RDF/XML and content negotiation

Kingsley Idehen wrote:
> On 6/28/09 6:33 PM, "Tom Heath" <> wrote:
>> Hi Richard,
>> 2009/6/25 Richard Cyganiak <>:
>> <snip/>
>>> (On the value of content negotiation in general: I think the key point is
>>> that any linked data URI intended for re-use, when put into a browser by the
>>> average person interested in linked data publishing, MUST return something
>>> human-readable. That's a hard requirement, otherwise people will never be
>>> confident about what a particular URI means and hence they won't re-use.
>>> That was the thinking behind the Cool URIs note when Leo and I wrote it a
>>> few years ago. In the past, the only way to get that effect was with content
>>> negotiation, so even though content negotiation is a pain, it's what we had
>>> to do. In the present, we have an alternative thanks to RDFa.
>> Not disagreeing at all about the human readable requirement, but just
>> a question... in this scenario you describe, is there not a risk that
>> Joe User will enter that URI and come to the conclusion that it
>> identifies the document (or section thereof), rather than a thing
>> described in the document?
>> Interested in your thoughts :)
>> Tom.
> Tom,
> Of course not, if dealing with an HTTP URI deployed in line with the Linked
> Data meme's deployment guidelines. In short, the user will encounter a
> document describing the Thing identified by the URI.
> The issue is not the document, but what it represents (metadata) and how it
> comes to be associated (implicitly) with the entity (resource) it describes
> via the entities URI.
> When all is said and done, the Linked Data meme has simply used HTTP to fix
> an age old problem: implicit association of an Entity with its Metadata
> within the context of distributed computing without any platform lock-in.
> Rewind back to pre. Web, then ask yourself: how did programmers refer to
> data objects and de-reference their representations (typically a proprietary
> language and platform specific data structure).
> Again, Linked Data is just about making what was platform specific, platform
> independent, via HTTP i.e., "data access by reference" and "data
> manipulation by values exposed by de-dereferenced data structures".
> We really need to keep this quite simple. There are zillions of people that
> understand "data access by reference" etc.. They also understand Metadata
> etc.. What they don't understand is how we sometimes *inadvertently* make
> this whole Linekd Data meme thing complex by not connecting the meme to what
> existed before the Web (which was actually created on a computer that
> already had a fully functional distributed object based OS etc..).
> Kingsley

Much short version.

If a user "Joe Web User" becomes fixated on the metadata document URI we 
don't have a problem. I say this because the aforementioned document 
will always act as a conduit to the URI of the entity it describes. 
Thus, Linked Data aware user agents will always be able to figure this 
out and get what they want.

The most important thing is that we add the metadata document to the 
general mix on the Web. By this I mean: in addition to the basic HTML 
document (which has no specificity re. metadata) and the standard 
ability to lookup markup (via browsers for instance), we now have the 
ability to lookup a metadata bearing document via a URI.

Keeping the URIs within scope of user agents is the single most 
important thing, since doing this is what really makes the Linked Data 
meme tick :-)



Kingsley Idehen	      Weblog:
President & CEO 
OpenLink Software     Web:

Received on Monday, 29 June 2009 03:33:09 UTC