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Re: A use case for anon nodes - action from telecon

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 21:02:05 -0700
Message-Id: <v0421011cb782a2776fcc@[]>
To: Jan Grant <cmjg@mercury.ilrt.bris.ac.uk>
Cc: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
>On Thu, 19 Jul 2001, Brian McBride wrote:
> > Aaron Swartz wrote:
> >
> > > Obviously, he has studied this more than I
> > > have, but it seems to me that people are asking anonymous nodes
> > > to mean more than they really do.
> >
> > I find the circularity of that argument rather beautiful.
>Heh. I've used anonymous nodes for (at least) three different things:
>- placeholders for things that don't have a URI (eg, people)
>- objects that I don't particularly care to name (eg, inventing a
>superclass of two classes after the fact)
>Both of these uses are pretty "standard"; also:
>- acting as placeholders in a query template.
>And I see this last use as legitimate.

Right. It is  even valid. But only in a query. So the issue becomes, 
do we have queries in RDF? I will leave that question to the proper 


> My querying process is simply
>this: the server offers to locate bits of a graph that match a pattern;
>you describe that pattern to it using anonymous nodes as variables. Yes,
>it might be a semantic overloading, but when I looked* there wasn't any
>one true method for expressing queries in RDF, so I made one up.

I guess there is a genuine cultural clash here. Are we supposed to 
define a precise meaning for RDF, or are we supposed to take a breezy 
hack-it-up-if-we-need-it attitude to what RDF is all about? I'm quite 
happy to take either road, but we need to get the question clear, 
since the two attitudes arent really compatible. The breezy approach 
has the merit of making anything as precise as a model theory 
entirely pointless, so I would have a lot less work to do.


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Received on Tuesday, 24 July 2001 00:01:58 UTC

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