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Re: use/mention and reification

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 12:24:55 -0500
Message-ID: <3C5194E7.6A395D50@mitre.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
CC: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
Pat Hayes wrote:
> Fourth. Although the contrast that Dan C. takes a stance on is the
> one that gets the most attention, there are others that require
> answers.  Dan C wants the subject of the reification of [Mary loves
> Bill] to be a word starting with "M" rather than a lady in love. I
> agree; but I want to know if that is a word TOKEN or a word TYPE?
> Does the reification identify a particular node in a particular graph
> (which is to be distinguished from a textually indistinguishable node
> in a different graph at a different URL), or is it something more
> like a word in the sense of a word in a dictionary? That matters a
> lot to how it can be used. Seems to me that the former - the token
> interpretation - is what we would need for any application involving
> provenance or history. 

This is an important distinction (and I agree we need the token
interpretion for this)

> Under the hood, the entire web consists of
> tp's of one kind or another, after all, 

"tps"?  I agree that a lot of the reification discussions have seemed to
assume that the entire web (possibly the entire world!) consists of
telepaths, but if that were true reification becomes really simple.  Or
did you mean "teepees" (as in conical tents)?  I've found a number of
teepee sites on the Web recently, but I'm not sure how they would apply

> Fifth. (Although this is a slightly different topic, it's related. )
> After the recent webont hoo-ha about layering onto RDF, and after
> huge battles with Jim H., I am more firmly convinced than ever that
> RDF really, really needs some way to live a kind of dual life, to be
> a (simple but useful) basic, vanilla notation for expressing simple
> facts, sure; but also be a generic structure-encoding framework on
> which to construct more complex notations, which can parse, transmit
> and maybe manipulate those notations even when it cannot 'interpret'
> them. And right now, RDF really cannot do both these things at once.
> Reification has been used, and touted, as the way to do both at once,
> but I think that this is a really bad, bad way to use reification. If
> this is what it is for, then (1) it cannot also be used for what the
> M&S says it is for, or any of this stuff we are talking about; and
> (2) this is a really clunky, awkward, triple-hogging, ugly, wasteful
> way to do that. So I would propose that we find, or invent, some
> OTHER way to do that, and leave reification to do other things.
> And I will suggest a way to do it in another message, just as soon as
> I can get the time; it is just a proposal to adopt the 'context' idea
> used in N3 and make it into a language feature. If that is out of
> charter (I will argue that it should not be) then we ought to sketch
> it in enough detail to see how it would work, recommend that the next
> WG do something like it ASAP, and assume that they will and that will
> solve that problem, and put it aside. That at least would free up
> reification from this issue.

Hooray!  Loud cheers from this end of the world!


Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
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mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-8752
Received on Friday, 25 January 2002 12:25:53 UTC

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