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Re: lcsh.info RDFa SKOS and content negotiation - use of RDF-style # IDs in RDFa?

From: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 17:26:26 +0100
Message-ID: <48EA3C32.60207@ibiblio.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: Steven Pemberton <steven.pemberton@cwi.nl>, "Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)" <skw@hp.com>, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, RDFa <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>, "www-tag@w3.org WG" <www-tag@w3.org>, Ed Summers <ehs@pobox.com>

Pat Hayes wrote:
> On Oct 6, 2008, at 6:12 AM, Steven Pemberton wrote:
>>> How does not giving the concept a name solve Dan's problem?
>> The aim of a name is to uniquely identify something. As far as I am 
>> concerned, as long as I have a method of uniquely identifying 
>> something, I'm happy.
> What would make me very happy would be for someone (perhaps yourself?) 
> to tell me what is meant by 'identify'. Take a concrete example: 
> suppose I have a name, told to me by someone, and to keep things 
> general lets suppose that this name is /not/ a URI.  Now take two 
> cases. In the first, this name is simply a character string. In the 
> second, it also identifies something, in your sense of 'identifies'. 
> What is different about these two cases? What can I do, using the 
> name, in the second case that I cannot do in the first? And how does 
> anything I can do with the name relate to whatever it is that the name 
> identifies?
 I found the best, albeit long, answer to this question is in Gareth 
Evan's "Varieties of Reference." While it's a long treatment, basically 
he says that to identify something one must be able to have a concept of 
it, i.e. the Generality Constraint, so one can make statements about it. 
Also, one mus be able to re-identify it, on another occasion, in a 
different context.

So, if one is given a string as an identifier that doesn't identify 
anything (or a range of things) like "gavagai",  you will not be able 
use that string in any sensible way to make statements about the world 
to communicate to others who do not share the same presumptions that you 
do. I might not know what a "gavagai" is, and so be unable to either 
agree or disagree with your statements, or any inferences you make from 

However, if I have the concept of "rabbit", and can in the general case 
guess that your "gavagai" matches my concept of rabbit, I can agree, 
give you more information about "rabbits/gavagais", and so on.

Re URIs, if we're dealing with http://www.gavagai.example.com instead of 
just "gavagai", then if I don't know what http://www.gavagai.example.com 
is, then I can access that URI and hopefully get a picture of what I 
call a "rabbit", then maybe I can guess what you call a 
"http://www.gavagai.example.com" is what I call a rabbit.

  Hope that helps - and thanks for the thought-provoking question!


> Thanks for any help you can give. 
> Pat Hayes
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Received on Monday, 6 October 2008 16:27:02 UTC

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