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RE: Another argument for anonymous resources...

From: Jonathan Borden <jborden@mediaone.net>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 07:22:22 -0500
To: "Dan Brickley" <danbri@w3.org>, "Jan Grant" <Jan.Grant@bristol.ac.uk>
Cc: "rdf interest" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001001c0b138$6a1638a0$0201a8c0@ne.mediaone.net>
Dan Brickley wrote:

> <wn:Person 	xmlns:wn="http://xmlns.com/wordnet/1.6/Person"
> 		xmlns:foaf="http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/"
> 		foaf:prisonerCode="6" />
> Yep, though there's no huge social difference between assigning a
> number/ID as someone's "URI" versus relating them to a
> number/mailbox/homepage/etc.

Actually I think there is a subtle but important difference. When you really
need to keep track of someone (for good reason), for example healthcare, you
assign an identifier code ... but it is _critical_ that the distinction
between the person and the person you _assume_ is identified by the code be

For example a surgical booking system. Someone may schedule an operation
based upon name and identifier (common practice) yet it is entirely possible
to have 2 people with the same name in adjacent rooms and hence type the
wrong _identifier_ into the system. You really can't blindly go ahead and
perform surgery on an identifier: that's how those disasters where the wrong
kidney etc gets removed _always_ a misidentification.

So the point is that you treat the person as an anonymous node and use an
algorithm to equate (e.g. daml:equivalentTo) the anonymous node with a node
identified by the identifier.

This is a real world and very real wrinkle on the error of naming an
anonymous node with a generated identifer, rather than addressing the
anonymous node (e.g. with an XPath or RDF query string).

> A lot of what we want URIs to do for us, we can do with other forms of
> identifying expression (typically built from URIs... :) so there's no
> escape, even for things that don't have URIs...
Just remember than not all URIs are names, some are addresses. Perhaps this
is another reason to standardise a query syntax: it would provide an agreed
upon method for _addressing_ as opposed to _naming_ anonymous nodes. For
example such a syntax might serve as the fragment identifier in an RDF

Jonathan Borden
The Open Healthcare Group
Received on Tuesday, 20 March 2001 07:21:09 UTC

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