W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-webont-wg@w3.org > February 2002

Re: URIs for terms: motivation [was: Requirements Document]

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 14:58:53 -0500
Message-Id: <p05101449b89316b9f5a5@[]>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: webont <www-webont-wg@w3.org>
>From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.umd.edu>
>Subject: Re: URIs for terms: motivation [was: Requirements Document]
>Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 10:36:39 -0500
>>  >This really needs to be discussed in more detail and deconstructed.
>>  >Its full of nonsequiteurs and misunderstandings. The fact is that
>>  >the entire concept of URI is completely confused right now, and
>>  >nothing in any documentation put out by the W3C is enough to clarify
>>  >it. We can't just take it as a given, we have to have some
>>  >discussion of what it is supposed to mean. In particular, what is
>>  >"on the Web" ?? If a document has a URL and uses a referring
>>  >expression, is that expression on the web? Is the thing named by the
>>  >expression on the web? What does 'identified distinctly' mean,
>>  >exactly? None of this is clear, and getting it clear is one of the
>>  >most important jobs we could do.
>>  Pat - thanks for the many very valuable contributions you made today
>>  (glad you found the missing mail :->)   On this one, however, I want
>>  to make a "Chair's statement" which is that while I personally agree
>>  with the fact that getting this right is crucial, and hope fervently
>>  that the W3C Technical Architecture Group is working the issue, I
>>  think we can RULE THIS OUT OF SCOPE for our working group - we can
>>  certainly state what version or document, or what assumptions about
>>  URIs we are making, but trying to solve this is well-beyond our
>>  charter and I want to make sure we don't spend too much time going in
>>  this direction...
>>    -JH

OK, Jim, I agree that we can't take the entire making-sense-of-URIs 
issue on board. I guess I just wanted to register a protest at the 
idea that statements like the one quoted constituted any kind of 
answer to the questions that arise.

>Let me come down firmly in the middle here.
>I think that there are problems with URIs that need to be addressed before
>WebOnt can finish.  However, I think that WebOnt doesn't need a complete
>solution (even assuming that a complete solution is possible).

I agree.

>So, in particular, I suggest that the WG mandate the Chair to send a strong
>message to the *POWERS*THAT*BE* saying that we desperately need a way of
>accessing XML Schema document definitions.
>Other issues that we probably need to have addressed have to do with
>identity of URIs.  Right now URIs are the same if and only if they are
>bit-for-bit identical.  However, we should all know many groups of URIs
>that are not the same under this definition but that necessarily refer to
>the same thing.

Ok, let me stake out another middlin' area that I think we do need to 
at least think seriously about. We use URIs in at least two distinct 
ways. They are used as logical constant symbols; and they are used to 
identify documents which contain ontological content written in some 
language. Right now we just smush these together; I'd like us to at 
least think about whether we ought to keep these uses separate, if 
only conceptually, and what the relationships between them are.


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Received on Friday, 15 February 2002 14:58:50 UTC

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