[rdfweb-dev] advocating use of rdf:ID / rdf:about attributes on foaf:Person tags

Jim Ley jim at jibbering.com
Sun Aug 17 03:55:26 UTC 2003

"David Madore" <david.madore at ens.fr>
> This seems far less clumsy than using
> foaf:name and/or foaf:mbox_sha1sum and misusing rdfs:seeAlso.

Could you explain how you see rdfs:seeAlso is being misused?

> If people wants to know more about Joe Smith starting
> from Jane Doe's FOAF file, they should simply follow the rdf:about
> link, which is the URI that uniquely identifies Joe Smith, globally.

However that requires that the URI that identifies Joe will always be
available to be de-referenced to get that more data, when Joe moves his foaf
file to a new place, he'll also have to move his URI there, and changing the
identifier for Joe is a lot more expensive an operation for everyone than
changing a link to more information about Joe.

> so it is dubious for a robot, FOAF crawler of any kind, to
> attempt to follow rdfs:seeAlso links systematically.  Whereas if the
> target has been identified by its own URI, as per an rdf:about
> attribute, it is the obvious course of action to follow that link.

I'd say it's currently a lot more dubious to assume resources in RDF are
de-refrenceable to an RDF description, than it is to say rdfs:seeAlso is not
worth following, if you want to help scutter developers narrow their search
here, you can simply type the rdfs:seeAlso'd url to an appropriate type.

> Further remarks: I'm surprised, upon reading the FOAF spec, that even
> such obvious properties as "date of birth" and "gender" are not part
> of the vocabulary.  I have not
> been able to find a single RDF vocabulary or ontology that includes
> them, as a matter of fact,

http://purl.org/vocab/bio/, There are others for gender too, none with much
weight behind them that I can see.

> so I created them myself as <URL:
> http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/madore/meta.rdf#birthDate > and
> <URL: http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/madore/meta.rdf#gender >, but
> I would rather have them be part of something a little more
> "official".

For your birthDate, I think you need to specify more than "normally in ..."
because that's not really useful unless we can rely on it to actually be in
that format, specifying ISO 8601 would make more sense.

Your gender is clearly under specified, there's a lot more than 3 genders
I'm afraid (which is one of the reaons why it's not made it in yet, there's
been some recent discussion on how to model it on the list, perhaps you
could check the archives.


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