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Provenance and reification

From: Graham Klyne <GK@NineByNine.org>
Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 21:31:39 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: RDF core WG <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>
Following today's teleconference, I was thinking some more about provenance 
(statements like document X says Y, possibly with other qualifications).

The question raised was whether the statement (Y) referenced in an 
assertion of provenance was a statement token, or some lexically-based 
value, or an interpretation of (meaning of) the statement.

Consider the case of a contract written in a foreign language.  My lawyer 
may tell me that "the contact with abc, dated dmy, that I am about to sign 
commits me to pay P pounds in return for some good Q".  This is a statement 
of provenance, but it is useless to me if it simply quotes the content of 
the contract -- I want to know the meaning (expressed in some language that 
I understand) of the content of the contract.

My point is that there is a clear argument for suggesting that assertions 
of provenance should reference the meaning of the referenced statements, 
not their lexical form.

Coming back to RDF:  the expression of provenance that I favour is one 
along the lines of:

     X contains statements Y


     the content of X entails assert(Y)

(there is no interpretation in which I(content of X) is true, and 
I(assert(Y)) is false.)

where X is an identifiable resource to which other properties can be added:

     X saidBy Person .
     X saidOn Date .
     X approvedBy Authority .



Graham Klyne
Received on Friday, 9 November 2001 16:57:08 UTC

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