W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-logic@w3.org > May 2001

RE: What do the ontologists want

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 16:03:18 -0500
Message-Id: <v0421013fb72c8c6519c7@[]>
To: "dehora" <bill@dehora.fsnet.co.uk>
Cc: www-rdf-logic@w3.org
>: pat hayes:
>:I am still trying to
>: find out what 'resource' means, but Dan Connolly tells me that:
>: the standard [definition of resource] is RFC2396:
>In RDF, a resource is something identified by a URI (that may have
>anchor ids) as per rfc2396. That's all there is to it.

Oh. The trouble is, the reason I wanted to find out what resources 
were was in part so that I could find out what URIs were. URLs I 
understand - they are a kind of global file-name -  but the W3C folks 
seem to think that URIs are something much more comprehensive than 
URLs: they *seem* to be saying that anything in the universe that can 
be referred to by any language can be indicated by a URI, so that if 
I want to talk about the electron density of the Oort cloud, or a 
grain of sand on Pensacola beach, well then I just use a URI.  (I 
don't know quite HOW to do this, but I'm willing to learn.) So that 
means that *anything* can be identifed by a URI, so *anything* is a 
resource. People who died five centuries ago are resources, leptons 
are resources, sets of integers are resources, Unicorns are 
resources, Father Christmas is a resource.
The only way I can make sense of this, I confess, is to think of URIs 
simply as names, and resources simply as entities. The trouble with 
*this* interpretation, however, is that it makes nonsense of the hype 
about the significance of URI's and how they are some new idea that 
needs an RFC standard to define them and will bring some new Web 
Power. They seem just like, well, common old names for things, like 
nouns in English or logical constants in logic. Never mind the 19th 
century: names in this sense probably go back to the cro-magnon era, 
or maybe before. Chimpanzees and gorillas can use names like this; so 
what is all the fuss about? Which makes me think that this can't 
really be what is meant by a URI. But I still don't know what else 
there is to the notion.

>I find it's
>useful way to think when it comes to implementing code.  That may
>seem a backways determination; if I create a URI do I create a
>resource for it to identify? This is moot, the RDF machine can't
>access a resource directly anyway, but it allows for the description
>of say, unicorns.

It does? How?

>: pat hayes:
>: I think that we have come to similar conclusions, if by rather
>: different routes.
>I'd probably prefer yours if I could understand it :)

Thats pretty much how I feel about yours, as well.


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Received on Saturday, 19 May 2001 17:03:16 UTC

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