Re: Subjects as Literals

On Thu, 2010-07-08 at 11:03 -0500, Pat Hayes wrote:
> On Jul 6, 2010, at 9:23 PM, David Booth wrote:
> > On Tue, 2010-07-06 at 20:45 +0200, Henry Story wrote:
> > [ . . . ]
> >> foaf:knows a rdf:Property .
> >>
> >> Well we can dereference foaf:knows to find out what it means. This is
> >> the canonical way to find it's meaning, and is the initial  
> >> procedure we
> >> should use to arbitrate between competing understandings of its  
> >> meaning.
> >
> > Right.  The document you get upon dereferencing -- the "follow your
> > nose" document -- acts as a URI declaration.[1]
> >
> > 1.
> Just to clarify, that is David's idea and his suggestion. It seems  
> like a sensible idea, in many ways. It seems to reflect some current  
> practice. But it is not part of the current RDF spec., and it is  
> controversial.

No, it was not my idea.  I cannot claim any credit for it.  The idea was
already around and in fairly common practice (though not universal) when
I first wrote it up in 2007.  I do not know who came up with it.  All I
did was write it up, give it a descriptive name "URI declaration" (so
that we could all refer to it more easily), and promote it.  

My write-up explains:
The ideas behind URI declarations are not new.  A number of people in
the Semantic Web community have used and advocated practices that amount
to URI declaration.  For example, Dan Connolly's paper on "A Pragmatic
Theory of Reference for the Web" [23 May 2006] recommends:

   "1. To mint a term in the community, choose a URI of the form doc#id
and publish at doc some information that motivates others to use the
term in a manner that is consistent with your intended meaning(s).
   2. Use of a URI of the form. doc#id implies agreement to information
published at doc."

And Sandro Hawke wrote in his RDF 2 Wishlist post:

". . . the use of particular IRIs as predicates implies certain things,
as defined by the IRI’s owner"

And Cool URIs for the Semantic Web recommends:

"1. Be on the Web.
    Given only a URI, machines and people should be able to retrieve a
description about the resource identified by the URI from the Web."

The practice is already quite well established, though again not
universal, and there is still some controversy, but it seems to be
diminishing as people understand it more.

David Booth, Ph.D.
Cleveland Clinic (contractor)

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect those of Cleveland Clinic.

Received on Thursday, 8 July 2010 18:31:16 UTC