[foaf-dev] foaf:Person vs crm:E21.Person

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Thu Jun 4 21:03:27 CEST 2009

On 4/6/09 20:12, Marco Neumann wrote:
> Thanks Dan for the elaboration.
> In the spirit of the FOAF vocabulary doesn't it go to far to consider an
> imaginary person?

On the Web, not every page is true. Just as HTML doesn't require every 
page to tell the truth, neither should FOAF or RDF. Another reason is 
that sometimes, the description doesn't contain enough information for 
anyone to know whether the Person was real or not.

"This is a picture of Marco stood next to a painting of someone called 
John", "This is a photo of a sculpture of a young man", "This is a story 
about George Bush Jr's great-great-grandson", "This is a blog comment 
made by someone who said their name was Anonymous Al."...  All of those 
statements need some way of mentioning the idea of a person. I don't see 
any great need for FOAF to say some of them are out-of-scope. So they're 
all in scope, that's all we have for now...

> If a foaf:Person can be a fictional person not just a historical figure
> but a truly imaginary one, I can never be a friend of that person expect
> in case of a mental extension to reality not to say a borderline
> schizophrenic situation.

Agreed. Being able to talk about non-existent, fictitious, idealised or 
dead people doesn't bring them to life!

> That said I typically prefer foaf:Person over crm:E21 for web resources
> since it's more commonly used. But we might need a companion or
> extension for a fictional character.

I agree that more conventions are needed around fiction. I hope the nice 
folk at the BBC will supply some concrete use cases here, eg. around 
fan-maintained life histories in a Semantic Wiki. When a soap runs for 
30+ years, keeping track of that alternate world is quite hard; and is a 
real issue when new writers need to catch up on things the fan-base know 
intimately (including past mental states of the fictional people). FOAF 
doesn't solve all these problems out of the box, for sure!

Re crm:E21 and cultural heritage apps., there are also some developments 
in the library world around the FRBR and RDA initiatives. I'd like to 
allign FOAF's classes with the needs of that community too. From a quick 
look, it might involve adding a Family class and explaining how it 
relates to foaf:Group, and how Organization relates to corporate entities...

> I think we don't capture imaginary characters as typed entities in the
> crm at this point. I need to confirm this though with the SIG.

It's probably a huge can of worms if you want to model it "properly". 
The FOAF hack is just to say "if you use the Person class in this way, 
nothing's going to explode"...

What're you building, may I ask? :)


More information about the foaf-dev mailing list