[foaf-dev] Does a WebId have to have a fragment?

Norman Gray norman at astro.gla.ac.uk
Sun Dec 20 17:24:36 CET 2009

Dan, hello.

On 2009 Dec 19, at 18:37, Dan Brickley wrote:

>> Or -- the short version -- is a WebID intended to be just any URI which is declared to be a foaf:Person?
> My understanding: WebID is a URI for a Person (or broadly, also an
> agent, eg. group/organization/company), where we emphasise some strong
> level of control by the identified party over the URI and hence over
> the descriptions directly associated with it.

Sounds good.


>>>  I've used http://nxg.me.uk/norman/ as the location of my FOAF file -- is that now not a WebID?
> yes, if that is a referent for you foaf file, and you are not your foaf profile, then
> that is not a WebId. :-)

Sorry -- I was imprecise: that URL does the 303-dance to return RDF or other representations.  That RDF then declares the non-information-resource .../norman/ to be a foaf:Person.

Dan again:

> So I believe
> the #-centric terminology in the wiki page is an artifact rather than
> a defining feature. Try changing the page and see if anyone changes it
> back! ;)

The page is noted as being an 'Immutable Page', so it seems that NormanGray doesn't have privilege to edit it.

What I would have added is the following:

The most straightforward way to make a WebID is to take the URL of your FOAF file, and add a 'fragment identifier' composed of #me, #this or (what appears to be the current favourite) your initials.

So your Web ID looks something like:


(assuming your initials are 'ABC').  You can consult the Best Practice Recipes for Publishing RDF Vocabularies for some options on how to do this.

Alternatively, you can decide on a fragmentless URL like http://your.isp.com/whatever/~yourusername/webid/, and configure the corresponding directory on your web server so that HTTP-dereferencing the URL returns a 303 redirection to RDF.  This style of WebID arguably looks neater, but requires more setup on the server, which is described in 'Recipe 2' within the 'Best Practice Recipes for Publishing RDF Vocabularies document.

Either way, the key thing is that the RDF that comes back has to declare your WebID as being of rdf:type foaf:Person.

All the best,


Norman Gray  :  http://nxg.me.uk

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