[rdfweb-dev] Suggestion to Spec

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Sun Jan 8 18:59:55 UTC 2006

On Sun, Jan 08, 2006 at 03:48:12AM -0800, William Khoe wrote:
> I am new to FOAF (just found out today actually), and I have a suggestion to
> the spec: Why not add a property for general tagging? This property will
> basically contain one or more strings that are useful to describe a person.
> (just like how flickr uses them for pictures and de.li.cio.us for sites).
> <foaf:tag>handsome</foaf:tag>
> <foaf:tag>hardworking</foaf:tag>

There are foaf:topic and foaf:interest properties that can be used in
a 'taggish' kind of way. from http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/ :

 The foaf:topic property relates a document [or any bit of media that
 is at a URL somewhere on the web] to a thing that the document is about.

 The foaf:interest property represents an interest of a foaf:Agent,
 [e.g. a person or a group or even a bot] through indicating a foaf:Document
 whose foaf:topic(s) broadly characterises that interest.

Both of these are ultimately defined as URLs (Resources) rather than
strings (Literals). When i've used topic/interest to map to a tag-like
representation i just make up a 'namespace' in whatever project i am
working in to use as a prefix for the 'tags'.

e.g. http://locative.net/tags/handsome

Why do it this way, using URLs rather than strings? Partly because it
is more 'semweb-like'. Partly because i can put an RDF vocabulary in my
namespace which gives more definite semantic pointers to what i think
the words mean, e.g.

 loc:handsome rdfs:subClassOf http://xmlns.com/wordnet/1.6/Handsome

Why engage in this extra complexity when tags are "good enough" and
"accessible"? I never know what use others in the future might choose
to make of my work. I'd like to make it as useful as possible, which
to me means making the 'meaning' of it as followable as possible. 

I think that a lot of sites and services followed flickr and delicious
into tagging without really thinking about why they were doing it;
"'tags' seem to have worked for them, so if i stick a little text box
in which one can attach a keyword to a URL that points to something,
that thing will magically become more trendy and interesting."

Matt Biddulph did some really interesting experiments with getting 
more meaning  out of collections of tagged things, last year:


More information about the foaf-dev mailing list