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RE: web proper names

From: John Black <JohnBlack@deltek.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 07:44:56 -0400
Message-ID: <CBEA695878CA104ABC6E74C6B17692755426B1@DLTKVMX2.ads.deltek.com>
To: "Hamish Harvey" <hamish@floodrisknet.org.uk>, <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>, <henry.story@bblfish.net>, "RDFInterest" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Cc: <h.halpin@ed.ac.uk>, <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hamish Harvey [mailto:hamish@floodrisknet.org.uk]
> Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2004 6:00 AM
> To: Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com; John Black; henry.story@bblfish.net;
> RDFInterest
> Cc: h.halpin@ed.ac.uk; ht@inf.ed.ac.uk
> Subject: RE: web proper names
> On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 11:38:52 +0300, Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com said:
> > With an approach such as URIQA, though, the degree of 
> standardization
> > and concensus reflected in e.g. programming languages, document
> > models, ontologies, etc. is not required.
> Standardisation of programming languages is rather a different beast
> from standardisation of "ontologies", I think. Although the 
> symbols used
> in a programming language are generally adopted from a 
> natural language
> (usually English), they are defined in terms of what they do. The
> difficulty here is in describing this unambiguously in English prose,
> but the symbols themselves are firmly grounded in reference
> compilers/interpreters.
As I understand one of the design requirements of the semantic web 
is that machines will be able to use the, lets say, simulated meanings, 
to avoid the halls of mirrors, created by metadata to actually do 
things in the real IT world. To my understanding that means that 
eventually after all the smushing and subsumption some result will be 
taken as output from the reasoner and used as input to an ordinary 
computer program. It may then be the case that the simulated-meaning 
of a URI will have to be defined in terms of what a computer will do with it. Perhaps 
many URI definitions should be given as ASMs (abstract state machines) 
describing what machines are able to do when they encounter one 
particular URI rather than another.

> Standardising an schema/ontology is a whole different matter. The (IMO
> unfortunate) overloading of <ontology> to mean the expression in a KR
> language of what used to be called an ontology (approx. an account of
> what is) points to the problem. The terms in a schema/ontology can be
> grounded in a real ontology, which can only be imperfectly shared
> between individuals, and probably only imperfectly understood by a
> single individual.
> > And insofar as URIs are concerned, approaches such as URIQA
> > specifically address the issue of "what does this URI mean?"
> > in a formal, machine understandable manner.
> Ummm, I like URIQA, but I'm not convinced it does this at 
> all. A CBD can
> be an answer the question "what does this URI mean?" IFF what 
> it "means"
> is a sequence of bytes which can be retrieved (and this is 
> unambiguously
> specified in an agreed RDF vocabulary). Otherwise all it can do is
> provide a set of properties which (help to) establish identity of some
> still inaccessible-to-the-machine entity. If URIQA is supposed to
> provide meaning beyond identity it sounds like an entrance way to the
> hermeneutic hall of mirrors [1]. 
> [1]
> http://cogprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/archive/00001577/00/harnad90.

  Hamish Harvey
Received on Wednesday, 22 September 2004 11:44:58 UTC

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