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Are they in the semiotic sense, arbitrary signs (chosen
by convention, and not inherently meaningful)?
The problem of namespace dereferencing is to make a sign inherently
meaningful. Otherwise, they are simply systemic and
can be replaced by any other sign system that provides an
isomorphic functionality (ie, are keys or indexes).
From: Hutchison, Nigel [mailto:Nigel.Hutchison@softwareag.com]
Further, the RDF Syntax spec requires that the
properties namespace must not only be a label, but, in fact, must be a
valid URL to an RDF Schema document (which defines what the property
means, thus enabling dynamic understanding of a property). That's my
understanding. Is it an incorrect understanding?
Yes it is incorrect.
One of the odd things about RDF is though it is full of URIs, RDF processing
doesn't involve URI dereferencing. URIs are used like keys.