Datatypes with no (cool) URI

I'm hoping for a bit of advice and rather than talk in the usual generic 
terms I'll use the actual example I'm working on.

I want to define the best way to record a person's sex (this is related 
to the W3C GLD WG's forthcoming spec on describing a Person [1]). To 
encourage interoperability, we want people to use a controlled 
vocabulary and there are several that cover this topic.

ISO 5218 has:
0 = not known;
1 = male;
2 = female;
9 = not applicable.

and Eurostat offers
F = female
M = male
OTH = other
UNK = unknown
NAP = not applicable

IMO, the spec should not dictate which one to use (there are others too 
of course). What I *do* want to do though is to encourage publishers to 
state which vocabulary they're using. Sounds like a job for a datatype - 
and for that you need a URI for the vocabulary. Something like:

schema:gender "1"^^<> .

Except I made that URI up. The actual URI for it is 
(or rather, that's the page about the spec but that's a side issue for 

That URI is just horrible and certainly not a 'cool URI'. The Eurostat 
one is no better.

Does the datatype URI have to resolve to anything (in theory no, but in 
practice? Would a URN be appropriate?

Given that the identifier for the ISO standard is "ISO/IEC 5218:2004" 
how about urn:iso/iec:5218:2005?

For Eurostat, the internal identifier for the vocabulary is "SCL - Sex" 
(standard code list) so would urn:eurostat:scl:sex be appropriate?

Anyone done anything like this in the real world?

All advice gratefully received.

Thank you




Phil Archer
W3C eGovernment

Received on Tuesday, 3 April 2012 13:33:40 UTC