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Re: simon:entity (or Identifiable)

From: Jim McCusker <mccusj@rpi.edu>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 11:25:22 -0400
Message-ID: <CAAtgn=QYwC+1tC=OHxA3BJt-8izFSC-Z83dGAdiqpFw6pJ3Z+Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: Luc Moreau <l.moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Cc: public-prov-wg@w3.org
In my mind, there are still needs for two things:

Being able to say that a BOB refers to a specific resource by URI.

Being able to describe what the entity "looks like" at the time the
provenance was recorded.

My understanding was that a BOB was something like a named graph,
graph literal (http://webr3.org/blog/semantic-web/rdf-named-graphs-vs-graph-literals/),
or information artifact similar to iao:Dataset. The Bob would then
have content that described, in some way, the entity in question.
Hence the Bob being a description of an entity's state.

If it is possible to know, there should be assertions on the BOB
itself that say which entity the BOB is describing. Ideally, this is a
URI of something that's referenced within the BOB.


On Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 7:53 AM, Luc Moreau <l.moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk> wrote:
> Hi Ryan,
> Over the last two weeks, there has been a gradual confusion about terms.
> To me, "stuff" and "activity" were not concepts we were trying to define.
> We were stating that there are stuffs and activities in the world.
> These words had to be understood with their informal/natural language
> meaning.
> When defining PIL concepts, we were then using these terms.
> For instance, a process execution is an activity.
> This had plenty of advantages for explaining the concepts,
> and how to use them with respect to the world.
> Given this, I am saying it is not right to say we should conflate
>   stuff and thing (or f2f1:entity and f2f1:bob)
> since the former was intended to be a normal word we use in natural
> language, and the latter was intended to be a concept we define.
> In other words, in a spec, I was expecting "stuff" to be in normal font,
> whereas "thing" would have been in bold/typewriter, or written pil:thing.
> For instance, a <bold>ProcessExecution</bold> is an activity.
> Simon got away with it, by replacing stuff/f2f1:entity by the word
> "anything".
> Ryan, you are avoiding it, because you use "that" instead.  (BTW, your
> text uses the term thing too! informally!)
> It makes explanations very difficult when we don't have a word such as
> stuff,
> especially when we want to say that there are multiple perspectives over a
> same
> stuff. This is why both the words pil:thing and stuff were used in the
> definition of IVP of.
> I am all in favour of simplifying definitions, but your proposal is
> preventing us from using an English word, which is very convenient to have
> when defining or explaining or concepts.
> In the meantime, until we gain an understanding of all our concepts,
> I propose we keep on using the term stuff (or f2f1:entity) in our
> explanations.
> Regards,
> Luc
> On 15/07/2011 06:36, Ryan Golden wrote:
> With apologies to Simon for hijacking his namespace, I'd like to take up
> Luc's suggestion to break off what he called the "simon:entity" proposal
> from the earlier thread into a separate thread.
> Rationale
> --------------
> It should come as little surprise that some problems we are trying to solve
> by our design have been faced before by others in different contexts.  After
> poring over the thread between Simon, Jim and others, I discovered a design
> issue discussion at (http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Generic), published by
> TimBL, which bears a _striking_ resemblance to the discussion we're having
> on stuff, thing, entity, entity state, and bob.  While he does use the "R"
> word in some of the discussion, he makes the key observation that the
> identifiers we use every day have "multi-level genericity."  That is to say,
> some identifiers are very specific ("Halley's comet, as viewed from the
> Hubble telescope, on 1/1/2014, in JPG format"), others more generic
> ("Halley's comet").  The Web design, he states, "should not arbitrarily seek
> to constrain life in general for its own purposes."  Neither should we, I
> would argue.
> Further, we may may make statements about "dimensions of genericity." That
> is to say that a) in relation to the thing it identifies, an identifier can
> be generic with respect to a particular dimension, e.g., in relation to the
> real Halley's comet, the "Halley's comet" identifier is generic with respect
> to time and content-type; and b) one identified thing may be generic in
> relation to another identified thing with respect to zero or more
> dimensions.  TimBL talks about the relatively small number of dimensions of
> genericity for electronic resources, whereas we are interested in the
> infinite number of dimensions (i.e., all possible properties) over which
> identifiers and things in the world (not just electronic resources) may
> vary.  The idea of "dimensions of genericity" gives what I believe to be a
> nice formulation for what we've been trying to discuss as "IVP of."  I leave
> the remainder of this discussion to a separate thread, however (please post
> any comments on this paragraph to that thread).
> If I fail to express some of TimBL's ideas adequately, I strongly suggest
> you read the Design Note--it is brief and more well-written.
> Proposal
> -------------
> Given both elegant formulations, I would like to propose we conflate the
> following concepts:
>     old:stuff
>     old:thing
>     f2f1:entity
>     f2f1:bob
>     f2f1:entity state
> Into a single concept:
>     simon:entity (alternate suggested name: "Identifiable")
> Which can be described as:
>    that which an identifier represents
> And, importantly for IVP of:
>    A simon:entity/Identifiable may exhibit a different level of genericity
> in relation to another simon:entity/Identifiable with respect to zero or
> more dimensions.
> --Ryan

Jim McCusker
Programmer Analyst
Krauthammer Lab, Pathology Informatics
Yale School of Medicine
james.mccusker@yale.edu | (203) 785-6330

PhD Student
Tetherless World Constellation
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Received on Friday, 15 July 2011 15:26:14 UTC

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