W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > February 2009

Re: live meaning and dead languages

From: John Graybeal <graybeal@mbari.org>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 07:19:40 -0800
Cc: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-Id: <5EBA2679-5492-4EAC-8B60-4E8EF5D99AC7@mbari.org>
To: Hugh Glaser <hg@ecs.soton.ac.uk>

I'm gratified to see explicit acknowledgment of using URIs as pointers  
to dictionary entries, which of course will change over time and  
appropriately so. (But with the great additional feature that each  
change can be versioned, so tracking word meanings over time is a snap!)

On Feb 9, 2009, at 4:07 AM, Hugh Glaser wrote:

> Does the dbpedia RDF provider decide to conform to the changed  
> meaning (as a
> dictionary might), or not?  Clearly they have a choice.
> If they have a choice, then it is an interesting problem for us to  
> study.
> A) Change - dbpedia probably would, because it aims to be like a  
> dictionary.
> B) Not change - I am annoyed I have lost the original meaning of the
> concept, and continue to use it in the RDF versions of my lecture  
> notes,
> without acknowledging (ie referring to) the new meaning (not really,  
> but
> could be, and is true of the use of the word "engineer" by the  
> professional
> bodies in the UK).

Or, "B) Not change - I am grateful that the meaning of this concept  
URI will always be consistent, so that I can be unambiguous in  
referring to it, and that there is a new concept URI I can use to  
refer to the new and better term, so everyone will recognize I am  
using the new meaning."  Depending on the personality of the user....

> In the end, I don't even "own" the URIs I mint, even if I own the  
> domain.

Not sure I follow you.  You own the URIs in that owning the domain  
lets you 'control the authority' and you can put whatever you want  
there.  As a dictionary provider, of course, you are at the whim of  
the actual usage for these terms -- is that what you mean?  That would  
be true of any knowledge provision enterprise, of course.

> These are interesting socio-technical issues, I think.

Yes, especially for providers who are offering general term storage  
services.  We've had to work through whether, and how, to support both  
choices (A) and (B) simultaneously while still maintaining fidelity to  
semantic web assumptions. Pretty interesting indeed!


John Graybeal   <mailto:graybeal@mbari.org>  -- 831-775-1956
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Metadata Interoperability Project: http://marinemetadata.org
Received on Monday, 9 February 2009 15:57:35 UTC

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