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

RE: Personal URI?

From: Danny Ayers <danny666@virgilio.it>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 00:28:05 +0200
To: "Sampo Syreeni" <decoy@iki.fi>
Cc: "RDF-interest" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-ID: <EBEPLGMHCDOJJJPCFHEFCEEKHGAA.danny666@virgilio.it>

>Actually the assumption is that people's wants are pretty much irrelevant,
>here. This is a question in software engineering, not in politics.

Software engineering doesn't exist in a void - design decisions such as this
have to make sense in the real world. There is a great deal of difference
between identifying a few people, a lot of people or all people. The id
numbers mentioned so far have national boundaries - will they still work
globally? The vast majority of the world's population don't have access to
the Internet, let alone email addresses - do we need to id people who will
*never* be online? etc.

>are valid applications where one might want to use a unique identifier for
>people when they exist, so it's reasonable to expect SW infra to support
>those applications.

Could you please give me an example that couldn't be equally well served
using bNodes? After all, that is in effect what you're doing with the id -
the person isn't the id number. I can accept that it may be easier to deal
with URIs directly, rather than having to splay back through bNodes, but is
easier to deal with a mix of URI-identified and bNode-identified people or
bNodes alone?

>>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.
>However, the same goes for everything else, from web pages to abstract
>works to whatever else you might name with a URI. By this token, there is
>absolutely no need for URI labelled nodes in RDF graphs, since everything
>can be taken care of by a suitable arrangement of anonymous nodes and

I don't believe that's so - a URI represents a fixed point, without fixed
points there's nothing to reason about.

>>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).
>However, *if* NID's are already available, I think it should be possible
>to use them as such, just like we use ISBN's for books. For those of us
>who don't have/want a NID, an anonymous node is pretty much ideal.

This sounds like a good practical approach (assuming politics doesn't get in
the way).

Received on Wednesday, 7 August 2002 18:37:04 UTC

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