W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > April 2002

Re: silly question about rdf:about

From: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 07:01:13 -0600
Message-Id: <200204151301.g3FD1DC19151@localhost.localdomain>
To: Lars Marius Garshol <larsga@garshol.priv.no>
cc: www-rdf-interest@w3.org
> * Nikita Ogievetsky
> |
> | What I am saying is that given a statement like this:
> | 
> | http://uche.ogbuji.net :characteristics :very-interesting
> | 
> | will leave many people puzzled whether I mean that you are a very
> | interesting person or that your website is definitely worth looking
> | at. :-)
> * Uche Ogbuji
> | 
> | It shouldn't leave least bit puzzled.  It is obviously talking
> | aboout the Web site, not the person.
> I think Nikita is right. If you look at the RDF currently being
> published, most of it (if not all), uses http URIs to point to things
> that are not network-retrievable resources.

I disagree.  Do you have some citations?  I don't think I've ever heard an RDF 
person put up a URI and say "this is a person".  I don't think I've ever seen 
the equivalent of this in any RDF examples, either.

> So while I agree that there *ought* to be no confusion, I think that
> in practice there is. This could be fixed by providing convenient and
> understandable mechanisms for handling this, but current practice
> seems to be broken.
> | But I don't see the confusion.  RFC 1738, which governs the URI
> | http://uche.ogbuji.net makes it clear that this URI
> | locates/identifies the document that is retrieved using HTTP and
> | that address.  Why would anyone thing it represents a person?
> Because lots of people use URIs that way.

Then the confusion is of their own making, not RDF.

As I said in the nocturne, the uses and meanings of URIs lie at a very 
different layer from RDF.  Since RDF works (or should work) with URIs as they 
are, this is a problem to be solved in URI, not RDF.  Ans it's a problem that 
goes far beyond RDF.

Personally, I don't see the problem, which is why I've ditched the long recent 
thread on the issue.  There are specs that govern URIs, and since tose specs 
are not, emm, ontologically closed  :-), URIs end up meaning largely what we 
agree that they mean.  This is quite common, and the human species isn't 
extinct because of such ambiguities.

I don't think that adding a layer of indirection, as Topic Maps does, does a 
*thing* to change this, or goes a single step beyond RDF in disambiuating the 
meanings of things we are describing.

> | Maybe I'm just thick, but I just do not come close to understanding
> | Topic Maps.  There are just too many moving parts interacting in
> | confusing ways.  I must say, though, from observice the discussiuons
> | at KT, that I'm not sure anyone really does.
> I find this a puzzling statement. To me they are very clear, and it
> seems to me that most topic mappers feel the same way.

Then I probably misunderstood the discusson that night.  Pardon me.  It just 
seemed to me that there was a lot of cross-clarification going on while 
discussing TM matters, much of which increased any fog I might have been under.

It's not for me to say what others understand.

Uche Ogbuji                   Principal Consultant     Fourthought, Inc.
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com   http://Fourthought.com   +1 720 320 2046
XML strategy, XML tools (http://4Suite.org), knowledge management
Track chair, XML/Web Services One (San Jose, Boston): 
Managing structured Web service metadata - http://www-106.ibm.com/developerwork
WSDL and the Wild, Wild West - http://adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6004
XML, The Model Driven Architecture, and RDF @ XML Europe - 
Received on Monday, 15 April 2002 09:44:53 UTC

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