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RE: web proper names

From: <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 09:24:58 +0300
Message-ID: <1E4A0AC134884349A21955574A90A7A50ADCD8@trebe051.ntc.nokia.com>
To: <david.harvey@bristol.ac.uk>, <JohnBlack@deltek.com>, <henry.story@bblfish.net>, <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Cc: <h.halpin@ed.ac.uk>, <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	ext Hamish Harvey [mailto:david.harvey@bristol.ac.uk]
> Sent:	Wed 2004-09-22 22:59
> To:	Stickler Patrick (Nokia-TP-MSW/Tampere); JohnBlack@deltek.com; henry.story@bblfish.net; RDFInterest
> Cc:	h.halpin@ed.ac.uk; ht@inf.ed.ac.uk
> Subject:	RE: web proper names
> Patrick, John, et al.,
> Regarding standardisation and URIQA, I wasn't intending to be
> argumentative, I was just observing a difference. 
> The meaning of a symbol in a programming language which has been adopted
> from a natural language is not parasitic on the language from which it
> is taken, although the meaning of the symbol in that language can
> provide a starting point for a language learner's understanding. It is
> entirely defined in the language standard, or by reference to (a)
> standard implementation(s). The standardisation process can proceed by
> negotiating to a position which is a balance of the most useful
> semantics, the least ambiguous semantics, the most prevalent semantics
> in extant implementations, and so on. Where symbols are taken to
> indicate things in the outside world, where we can't even rely that
> people (e.g. from different cultures) identify the same objects, the
> problem has a new and exciting edge to it; you are standardising a world
> view.

I agree it is exciting. I think, though, that while standardizing
an actual ontology/vocabulary constitutes standardizing a world view,
what URIQA serves to offer is the ability to dynamically identify
intersections of world views -- which I think is a far more scalable
and efficient means of interaction between arbitrary agents in a 
global scope. At some level, to some degree, that intersection depends
on a certain amount of standardization of ontologies/vocabularies,
but the dynamic discoverability of semantics associated with a URI
is IMO what will bootstrap the semantic web and allow it to reach
critical mass as envisioned.

> The point about the benefit provided by a layer such as URIQA is taken.
> In fact, given this new and exciting edge, the decentralised approach
> (which URIQA provides some support for) is essential. Though I do still
> want to find time soon to have a look at what can be learned from the
> years of toil of the "ontological engineers" on the Cyc project.

I think that efforts such as Cyc (and Wordnet) will be essential
to achieving that core, shared intersection of world view which
tie together the many disparate, varied local vocabularies (world
views) used by actual systems, both legacy and new.

> On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 13:24:35 +0300, Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com said:
> > > > 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]. 
> > 
> > I was speaking colloquially. Let me put it a different way: URIQA
> > provides efficient access to authoritative descriptions of resources
> > which are expressed in a formal manner conformant with the RDF MT.
> > 
> > Is that better?
> OK, sorry if I was being excessively pedantic :) I tend to feel that
> such colloquialisms aren't totally innocent, though; certainly they risk
> perpetuating misunderstandings.

Agreed. Forgive me for being sloppy about issues that ultimately
benefit from as much precision as we can give them.


Received on Thursday, 23 September 2004 13:37:39 UTC

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