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Re: RDF Semantics - datatypes and "identifies" vs "denotes" - ISSUE-145

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2013 07:22:30 -0400
Message-ID: <526F9A76.5070504@openlinksw.com>
To: public-rdf-comments@w3.org
On 10/29/13 12:53 AM, Pat Hayes wrote:
> On Oct 28, 2013, at 8:55 PM, David Booth<david@dbooth.org>  wrote:
>> >Hi Pat,
>> >
>> >I'm trying to understand the rationale for defining the notion of "identifies" as being distinct from "denotes".
> The RDF semantics*defines*  the notion of denotation. It*uses*  the notion of identification, which is also used and described in a number of other W3C standards and publications. The RDF semantics document does not set out to define this notion: it simply refers to it as being any any widely accepted notion of how IRIs map to meanings which is used and accepted externally to RDF.  Thus, for example, the IRIhttp://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#int  *identifies*  the datatype called 'int' defined in section 3.4.17 of the W3C XML Schema Definition Language (XSD) 1.1 Part 2 Recommendation published on 5 April 2012,http://www.w3.org/TR/xmlschema11-2/#int. That this is true is not determined by anything in the RDF semantics: it is simply a fact, established by a complex set of social, linguistic and technical conventions about how certain IRIs are attached to accepted meanings. In order to ensure that RDF denotation agrees with this, so that interpretations  (in appropriate cases) map 'http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#int' to that datatype, it is necessary to stipulate that denotation as defined in RDF coincides with this socially defined mapping from IRIs to meanings; and that, in turn, requires that we have a way to refer to this (and similar) mappings. That is why we use the term "identify" in the RDF Semantics document to refer to this (indeed to any defined-externally-to-RDF) mapping. (We could just say something like, these IRIs denote what everyone would expect them to denote, but that would probably not be considered to be acceptably precise.)
>> >As I mentioned before, at first reading this appeared to me to be a contrived distinction that was created to avoid having a URI denote more than one thing.
> That was not the purpose of making the distinction.

I think the Webster dictionary is useful here:

[1] Denotation -- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denotation .
[2] Identification -- 
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/identification .



Kingsley Idehen	
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Received on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 11:22:55 UTC

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