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Re: Subjects as Literals

From: Paul Gearon <gearon@ieee.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2010 23:06:45 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTinzAG_FOr3syxSyJmx2ZxI1lrjy9pdy6x-p3jC8@mail.gmail.com>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: Jeremy Carroll <jeremy@topquadrant.com>, Peter Ansell <ansell.peter@gmail.com>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
On Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 10:47 PM, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> wrote:
> On Jul 1, 2010, at 10:06 PM, Jeremy Carroll wrote:
>> On 7/1/2010 7:51 PM, Pat Hayes wrote:
>>> The mistake here is to presume that simple character strings in RDF are
>>> being used as though they were words. But this is such a basic error that I
>>> doubt if anyone who holds it is going to be able to use RDF successfully in
>>> any case.
>> Pat - one of the key problems with subject as literals, is that this basic
>> error will be compounded in "spades" - particularly by people who have been
>> told by their managers to make their data public.
> Why will it be worse when they are subjects than it would be (is?) when they
> are used in the third position?

When the data hangs off the graph as a leaf, then it tends to get
isolated, and the errors are restricted. For instance,

ex:Fred ex:livesIn "London"

This is wrong, but it's kind of isolated. If subjects become literals,
then we're also likely to see:

"London" ex:partOf "England"

In other words, the poor modeling that was isolated to leaves now has
the capacity to become a more integral part of the graph.

Sure, none of this should be happening in the first place, but
unfortunately it does. Consequently, this leaves a lot of people
cleaning up the mess. Allowing this problem to become a central part
of the graph makes the mess more likely to spread.

Maybe this is a spurious complaint, since no one should be writing
data that's this poor in the first place. But since they do, and
people are constantly having to deal with it, then keeping the damage
to a minimum doesn't seem like a bad approach.

(Incidentally, I'm arguing this as a devil's advocate. I've wanted to
see literals as subjects for years)  :-)

Paul Gearon
Received on Friday, 2 July 2010 06:07:18 UTC

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