[rdfweb-dev] Which Person wrote this FOAF?

Julian Bond julian_bond at voidstar.com
Tue Jul 29 08:24:54 UTC 2003

I was going round and round last night trying to understand this.

Most FOAF files in the wild follow a pattern. They have one foaf:Person 
with lots of information about the person that wrote the file and then a 
long list of foaf:Persons with minimal info linked via foaf:knows. 
There's an implied suggestion that the Primary foaf:Person information 
is authoritative because it's about the person that made the file.

Several of the Foaf Explorers (even those written by RDF-heads) display 
this implied information because the main person is displayed first at 
the top of the html page.

When you look at the file as triples, this implied authority is lost. 
It's just a list of foaf:Persons one or more of which have a list of 
foaf:knows. There's no explicit triple to say that this foaf:Person 
wrote the file authoritatively and it's mostly about them.

As well, in triples, there's no reason why a file shouldn't have more 
than one "primary" person.

Now I'm not trying to go down the route of pgp signing and proof of 
ownership. I'm just trying to recover the information that this file is 
mostly about this person. In the XML view it's mostly obvious because 
the file only has one top level node and that's a Person. But how am I 
supposed to extract this information from the triples?

We could use foaf:maker and foaf:made to store the data but these are 
new and not widely used yet.

For a spider, it probably doesn't matter because this file just adds to 
the data store of triples and they're all related via an mbox_sha1sum 
key. But for a FOAF explorer that html-izes a single file, I think it 

Is this just an artifact of RDF-API for PHP (RAP) and other RDF parsers 
have a getTopNodes() function or something to extract the lower level 
XML structure info if required?

Julian Bond Email&MSM: julian.bond at voidstar.com
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