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

RE: Personal URI?

From: Barney Govan <bg@adv.sonybpe.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:16:58 +0100
To: "RDF-interest" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000601c23e0c$545bb0a0$5936c22b@GBBPRLBASWS061>

If the individual moved a few miles away, the GPS location (or OS
coordinate, or direction and distance from my house, or whatever system
used) would change.

I was not suggesting some kind of directory for people without email
addresses or websites or unique barcodes. I was merely suggesting that
individuals can define their resources locally within their unique
namespaces.  My fictional friend, John Smith, could well be defined in
someone else's namespace, under a different identifier but applying to the
same person (resource).

The advantage of the locally defined solution over a general, globalised
solution is that the global solution requires some kind of universal
agreement, and some kind of centralised authority that would allocate the
unique numbers.  The locally defined solution requires no agreement, no
central authority, but instead relies on local definitions to describe how
to interpret the resource.
For example, if I want to define my own version of an integer to use (a 14
bit integer value on weekdays and an 18 bit one at weekends, for example),
then I could define that within my unique namespace, and happily use the
local name "int" for it.

RDF allows for this kind of local definition, and indeed is its whole point.
Centralised knowledge management systems have been tried before, and the
reason they have failed to have widespread impact is down to their
centralised approach.  With RDF, I can define any terms I care to, as long
as I give the means to understanding those terms.

-----Original Message-----
From: Danny Ayers [mailto:danny666@virgilio.it]
Sent: 07 August 2002 12:34
To: Barney.Govan@eu.sony.com; RDF-interest
Subject: RE: Personal URI?

The assumption is being made that people will want to be identified, which
suggests a generalised solution. In reality this may not be the case (or
practical). If a person doesn't want to be identified, then presumably
no-one has the right to identify them (governments might disagree). On the
other hand, if they really do want to be identified then they can apply to
an organisation like Barney and have themselves put in the directory (the
date & place stamping is great, though what if the individual only moved a
few miles away?).

However, I think identifying someone in this way is very limited in its
added utility. In practice, I would suggest that Seth's bNode approach will
be perfectly adequate - e.g. "give me a list of the books written by the
bloke who came up with html". Not precise enough? - add another rule, which
may be his/her surname, email address, national insurance number or the
title/Amazon URL of another work. Locally, we might use a 99-digit id
number, but in the wild the id-by-association should be plenty (and better
matches the conceptual frameworks in which it is likely to be used).


Danny Ayers
<stuff> http://www.isacat.net </stuff>

Idea maps for the Semantic Web

>-----Original Message-----
>From: www-rdf-interest-request@w3.org
>[mailto:www-rdf-interest-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Barney Govan
>Sent: 07 August 2002 12:49
>To: RDF-interest
>Subject: RE: Personal URI?
>The political ramifications of identifying people uniquely in the physical
>world are even more significant when dealing with peoples'
>identities on the
>Surely the problem does not find its solution in developing some kind of
>global system for uniquely identifying people (or indeed resources
>generally).  The solution for identifying people as resources comes from
>treating them as resources.  By defining a local name for that
>person/resource you can then scope the name with a globally unique
>which identifies which definition of that resource is the valid one.
>For example, if I have a friend called John Smith, and I have a unique
>namespace address called http://fictionalsite.com, I can identify my friend
>by using the standard namespaceprefix:localname convention.  The resource
>that this points to would identify John Smith as my friend, and give
>geographical and temporal locations.  This would mean that if he
>changed his
>name or emigrated, the unique identifier would still be valid, as he would
>be still have been John Smith at that time and at that place.
>This way I can treat him the same way I would any other resource.
>Barney Govan                                . . o o O O O
>R&D Engineer                                . . o o O O
>Sony Broadcast & Professional Research Labs . . o o O O
>Jays Close                                  . . o o O O O
>Viables                                     . . o o O O O O
>Basingstoke                                 . . o o O O O O
>Hampshire                                   . . o o O O O
>RG22 4SB
>Tel: 01256 483650                               S  O  N  Y
>email:  mailto:bg@adv.sonybpe.com
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Sampo Syreeni [mailto:decoy@iki.fi]
>Sent: 07 August 2002 09:57
>To: Peter Bruhn Andersen
>Cc: RDF-interest
>Subject: RE: Personal URI?
>On 2002-08-06, Peter Bruhn Andersen uttered to RDF-interest:
>>I'm living in Denmark where we all have a unique "personal
>>identification number" (PIN) and I did have some ideas about using the
>>PIN as a URN.
>It's the same throughout the Nordic countries, and I think such systems
>are place in various European contries as well. US obviously doesn't have
>it, and it will be a major political issue if one is instantiated.
>Still, PINs are useful, and building a single namespace of PINs doesn't
>seem like much of a problem. It's much like the way international account
>numbers work, nowadays.
>My idea was urn:pin:fin:1978:080978-0173. Country, first year of validity
>and whatever the actual PIN is. Since each country has its own numbering
>system, we will have to label by country code. Most PIN schemes are
>constructed with compactness in mind, so they will wrap from time to time.
>Hence, label by the year of issuance. Then the actual number. We might
>think about squeezing out the redundancy (e.g.  "78" in the above is a
>birthyear, "-" indicates the century and "3" is a checkdigit), but I don't
>think this is actually worth the trouble.
>>The PIN itself is not enough but the risk makes a majority of people
>>unwilling to share it publicly.
><politics>Which is precisely why people should share any such semi-secure
>numbers as widely as possible. To dilute their significance.</politics>
>>The PIN is only given to people in Denmark. I would like to see a globally
>>useful solution.
>I cannot see why arbitrary URN's couldn't be used in those cases. I've
>already given myself a tag-URI, but using a PIN one instead/in addition to
>that would be nice, when possible.
>Sampo Syreeni, aka decoy - mailto:decoy@iki.fi, tel:+358-50-5756111
>student/math+cs/helsinki university, http://www.iki.fi/~decoy/front
>openpgp: 050985C2/025E D175 ABE5 027C 9494 EEB0 E090 8BA9 0509 85C2
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Received on Wednesday, 7 August 2002 08:18:41 UTC

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