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   Re: Success factors for the Web and Semantic Web

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  • From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • To: xml-dev <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 10:06:33 -0500

At 01:54 PM 12/21/00 +0000, Sean B. Palmer wrote:
>To me, TimBL's vision is clear but the process isn't. Let's clarify thet:
>There are just a few problems with the Semantic Web vision that need to be
>solved (not moaned at, or used as evidence to show how the SW will fail!):-
>     1. A Namespace is not definitive. Two different langauges point
>          to the same NS, but it has no Schema - which one is correct?
>          (Action: make sure that namespaces are dereferencable)
>     2. A Namespace is still not definitive. Tim's example was of a URI
>          for Zip codes. There could be hundreds of them: no one is going
>          to use the same one!

Or you could just say that the relationship of a URI to information
resources is very weakly defined, and that's something the URI community
appears to have little interest in changing.  Yes, I'm aware of DDDS,
content-negotiation, and other related projects, but while they help, URIs
in general remain deeply amorphous.

It's not yet clear whether the problems lies in URIs as a concept (my
opinion) or people's interpretations of/applications of URIs (what I'd call
the URI community opinion), but I'd suggest that URIs are too amorphous to
be meaningful as identifiers outside of tightly controlled contexts.

As a result, anything built on URIs is going to have problems like (and
beyond) the problems you describe above.  I don't mind if they block the
Semantic Web, but I'm thoroughly frustrated with the complications they've
introduced for XML itself.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
XHTML: Migrating Toward XML
http://www.simonstl.com - XML essays and books


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