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Re: Are we elements or animals? (was: Use of fragment identifiers in XML)

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 22:19:54 -0600
Message-Id: <p05111b3ab9e7aa406959@[]>
To: Aaron Swartz <me@aaronsw.com>
Cc: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>, Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>, www-tag@w3.org, Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>

>On Thursday, October 31, 2002, at 06:44 PM, pat hayes wrote:
>>RDF documents do not DESCRIBE fragments. They USE them.
>I have a triple:
>ex:John rdf:type <http://www.example.org/#Dog> .
>I grab http://www.example.org/, it's an RDF document that says (in part):
><rdf:Description rdf:about="#Dog">
>   <dc:description>a dog, an animal with four legs</dc:description>
>According to the URI spec (via the links I cited), the #Dog is an XML element.

Wait a minute. What are you saying here? Are you DESCRIBING that 
syntactic thing that starts with a hash sign and has four ascii 
characters, or are you USING it to refer to something? If the latter, 
what language do you take it to be in (and whose semantic rules you 
will use to help determine what it refers to)? Myself, I would use 
RDF, seeing as it occurs in an RDF document. In which case, the URI 
spec is irrelevant, since the entire body of all URI (and XML) specs 
ever written do not say anything at all about what it is that fragIDs 
must be used to refer to. And in that case, 
http://www.example.org/#Dog is a class (of dogs). '#Dog' is an XML 

>I suspect that RDF wants it to be a thing with four legs. Which is John?

Depends on what language you think you are understanding here. If its 
RDF, and if you have enough savvy to read some English as well, then 
John is a dog, an animal with four legs. This RDF uses '#Dog' to 
refer to the class of dogs, but nobody, including RDF, is saying that 
a string of four characters IS a class or a dog.

>>Nothing outside of RDF can specify what meaning RDF assigns to a 
>>string of characters containing a hash mark.
>Sure, if RDF wants to live in its own little world, that's fine.

What do you mean, its own little world? RDF is a descriptive 
assertional language which can talk about anything under the sun. Of 
course it expects that its readers will know and use its own rules of 
grammatical form and semantic interpretation: that's understood as 
part of the very nature of being a language. But if that is 'being in 
its own little world', then every language ever invented or evolved 
is in its own little world. Shakespearian English is in its own 
little world.

>But it's annoying to have some contradicting specs

They aren't contradictory, if you read them correctly, any more than 
saying that you can encode PERL in bitstrings is a contradiction.

>and I suspect it will run into problems when we try to put stuff together.

It seems to be doing OK so far.


>Aaron Swartz [http://www.aaronsw.com] "Curb your consumption," he said.

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Received on Thursday, 31 October 2002 23:20:21 UTC

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