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Re: Owning URIs (Was: Yet Another LOD cloud browser)

From: David Huynh <dfhuynh@alum.mit.edu>
Date: Mon, 18 May 2009 08:16:39 -0700
Message-ID: <4A117BD7.1010604@alum.mit.edu>
To: John Graybeal <graybeal@mbari.org>
CC: Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>, semantic-web@w3.org
John Graybeal wrote:
> I think a key point of David's original post, which I would like to 
> emphasize, is that if I use a URL to refer to a web page, the owner is 
> generally either readily visible (in the URL) or discoverable (via 
> domain lookup). When I represent a term as a URL, it is at least known 
> who is serving that URL; and often the _developer_ of the term can be 
> derived intuitively (e.g., by dereferencing the URL in a browser). 
> These are positive social outcomes, and encourage further adoption of 
> the term.
> When I represent a term as a URN or other URI that can not be 
> dereferenced directly in a browser, almost all of that social context 
> is lost. The responsible party can be found only by manually parsing 
> the URN, going to an obscure (to most) web page, manually looking up 
> the URN authority. The developer of the particular term may be 
> discoverable from the rest of URN -- but any semantics embedded in the 
> rest of the URN, if any, can only be known by finding and reading the 
> materials from the application of the responsible party. And the 
> actual metadata for the term can only be found by discovering, through 
> close analysis of the application or some other way, a 'magic lookup 
> URL' so a browser can look up the URN and provide additional 
> information about it. 
> It isn't that these problems can't be solved; eventually global URI 
> resolution will probably be available with browsers thanks to tricky 
> and consensual underlying technologies.  But the initial 
> specifications as rolled out provided no standard way to solve them, 
> so until the marketplace converges, the social conventions available 
> with URLs are not supported.
> I would quibble with some of the details of David's original argument. 
>  Someone other than Company X can have the companyx.nnn domain, for 
> example.  And semantic systems could use 'term rank' methods to derive 
> the most important URI for a term like 'microsoft', thereby achieving 
> at least one of Google's neat tricks in the semantic realm. But 
> overall, the adoption of semantic and other URI-based technologies in 
> the human world will inevitably lag that of http URLs, until the 
> technologies are so fully developed that all these 'weaknesses' 
> (strengths in other respects, of course) are fully addressed.
Well put, John! Thank you--that's what I meant to say. You and I are on 
the same page.

Received on Monday, 18 May 2009 15:17:43 UTC

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