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Re: URIs for languages

From: Gerard de Melo <gdemelo@mpi-inf.mpg.de>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 22:11:29 -0800
Message-ID: <4F3F4111.4020109@mpi-inf.mpg.de>
To: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
CC: "M. Scott Marshall" <mscottmarshall@gmail.com>, Gerard de Melo <gdemelo@mpi-inf.mpg.de>, Lars Marius Garshol <lars.garshol@bouvet.no>, Barry Norton <barry.norton@ontotext.com>, public-lod@w3.org
Hi Bernard, Scott, others,

Bernard Vatant wrote:
> For the first point I guess if LoC is not able to ensure stable URIs 
> inside its DNS, who will? And both from a social (trust) point of view 
> and technical one, I prefer to have URIs in the id.loc.gov 
> <http://id.loc.gov> namespace than in some more or less opaque purl 
> one. For example all fundamental W3C spec at the basis of all the RDF 
> ecosystem are in the w3.org <http://w3.org> DNS, and the W3C has a 
> policy of URI stability which IMO can be adopted by LoC.

Yes, I agree.

> Of course one can ask why LoC does not publish (yet) also URIs for 
> 639-3, but hopefully it's in the pipes, as well as countries ISO-3166 
> as Lars Marius points (those were also in the original OASIS Published 
> Subjects publication ...). But id.loc.gov <http://id.loc.gov> have 
> 639-5 entries.

Well, I would say that ISO 639-3 URIs (and to some extent ISO 3166 URIs) 
are rather unlikely to
come from the Library of Congress, given that they are not the 
responsible ISO RA/MA.

> That other data sets will provide better or more complete information 
> about things identified by those URIs is not a problem. I think it's 
> OK if a reference URI provides just the minimal description needed for 
> disambiguation and context, and basis for maximal re-use. To take a 
> completely different example, what is the most reused URI in the LOD, 
> beyond the URI in standards themselves RDF, RDFS, OWL? Certainly 
> http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/Person. What does FOAF itself provide about 
> this class? Not much. But the fact that millions of triples use it 
> make it a reference, both at vocabulary and data level, can help to 
> figure what a foaf:Person can be. For example go to 
> http://labs.mondeca.com/endpoint/lov_aggregator and run the proposed 
> default query ...

Yes, in general I agree, but there seem to be some pragmatic issues 
involved here as well.
After all, there is a reason why people are not just using URNs.

> The referent "in the real world" of 
> http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/iso639-2/grc is as fuzzy as the referent 
> of http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/Person. It's indeed a conceptualization 
> of a language, which has been defined by ISO 639-2 standard according 
> to criteria most people won't argue about, and some will disagree upon 
> for good reasons. And that's why we have 639-3. As any classification 
> of languages, this one defines arbitrary limits in a continuum. What 
> is a language limit in the real world is and will ever be an open 
> question. But information systems simply rely on codes provided by an 
> authority to which they defer the tricky task of deciding about it.

Yes, the referent of one URI for the French language can be different 
from the referent of another (e.g.
one may exclude certain dialects or historical variants). In this sense, 
indeed every URI *involves* an
associated conceptualization.

However, many interpret SKOS concept URIs as actually *denoting* the 
concept per se, which can then
be related via the foaf:focus property [1,2] to the resource 
corresponding to the actual referent. So do
you believe that a SKOS concept for French has the same ontological 
status as


[1] http://xmlns.com/foaf/spec/#term_focus
[2] http://wiki.foaf-project.org/w/term_focus

Gerard de Melo [demelo@icsi.berkeley.edu]
Received on Saturday, 18 February 2012 06:12:21 UTC

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