Re: External Enumerations mechanism

On 19 April 2012 20:30, Dan Brickley <> wrote:


I'm really not sure there's any net benefit over using the original
URIs. Ok, there's conflict between the identification of a thing and
that of a document about the thing. Having "bless" a given
vocabulary is arguably a good thing, but the minting of new URIs for
the vocabularies seems redundant. HTML authors *are* used to pointing
to e.g. Wikipedia for definitions, what is to be gained from
centralizing things further?

There are at least two approaches that will achieve the same ends
without compromising the distributed nature of the Web -

1. refer to a target page directly, tweak property definition

so instead of:
  <link itemprop="nationality"
we'd have:
  <link itemprop="nationality"
href="" />

I can't actually see a definition of "nationality", but the conflict
mentioned above would be avoided if it were defined as being "a page
describing the nationality".

2. refer to a target resource directly

  <link itemprop="nationality"
href="" />

It could be argued that perhaps dbPedia isn't likely to be as stable a
reference as Wikipedia. But nothing can be considered rock solid for
perpetuity, we just have to trust in Cool URIs. The argument about
"correct and currently fashionable standard" isn't very compelling, in
fact there's quite a strong counter-argument: if person uses the
definition from Wikipedia today, should it be's decision
tomorrow that what they /really/ mean is the definition from
Encyclopedia Universalis?

As for the "regular markup" argument, the target systems already use
regular markup, and the URIs appear to be shorter. Perhaps a more
significant angle is: how does someone find a suitable URI for e.g.
"Linear Algebras" by Gilbert Strang? If we're deferring to the Library
of Congress for definition, then it'd be appropriate to go and search
over there - and the result is given *in their naming scheme*, it
needs modifying to get it into's. That's more friction, not

Even with my architecture astronaut's helmet on I reckon the basic
approach of is an experiment worth trying, relaxing a
constraint of the traditional semweb approach to encourage more
publication of data (well, "constraint" is a bit strong for the idea
that vocabularies should be distributed, nothing's ever ruled out
having biggish centralized vocabs). Whatever, pragmatism trumps holy
cows. But the use of URIs for terms from collections like
Wikipedia doesn't really seem to offer any significant concrete
benefit in return for it's compromise.


--  - text to tones and back again

Received on Friday, 20 April 2012 09:14:28 UTC