[foaf-dev] alternate names for people

Ross Singer rossfsinger at gmail.com
Wed Jun 2 15:03:38 CEST 2010

If the same resource is used (and we just use foaf:name/skos:altLabel
to distinguish "identities"), how does an application know which is
the proper label to display for a particular association?

For example, would <http://openlibrary.org/works/OL15104151W> run the
risk of its <dct:creator> displaying "Daniel Handler"?  Would
<http://dbpedia.org/resource/69_Love_Songs> have <dct:contributor>
show up as "Lemony Snicket"?

There is probably also something useful about segregating these
identities for other reasons, as well -- grouping the stuff by a
particular persona together, for example.

Perhaps this calls for some notion of foaf:isAliasOf or foaf:alias or
foaf:aka or something?


On Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 7:06 AM, Dan Brickley <danbri at danbri.org> wrote:
> +cc: Yves, who might have Music Ontology perspective on this (single
> person acts, vs the person themselves, etc)
> On Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 3:55 AM, Ed Summers <ehs at pobox.com> wrote:
>> My apologies if this has come up before. Has anyone needed to model
>> alternate names for a foaf:Person before? The issue came up in a
>> thread on the openlibrary tech list discussing how to improve access
>> to author resources [1].
> This is an important use case, thanks for writing it down in our mailing list :)
> My first reaction to your proposed design was "oh dear, is this
> skos:Concept <-disjoint-> foaf:Person again? Then I actually read the
> final W3C SKOS recommendation and was relieved to remember that these
> useful label properties have no declared rdfs:domain, ie. that can be
> used on anything quite freely. So the SKOS-based design looks
> available and usable already.
>> Consider Samuel Clemens, who was the author of Huckleberry Finn, and
>> whose name in "real life" was Samuel Clemens. Is it reasonable to riff
>> on the preferred label pattern in Leigh and Ian's Linked Data Patterns
>> [2] and use skos:altLabel here?
>> <http://openlibrary.org/authors/OL2119850A/> a foaf:Person ;
>>    foaf:name "Samuel Clemens" ;
>>    skos:altLabel "Mark Twain" .
>> Or is there another well trodden foafy way to do this? Karen Coyle and
>> George Oates over at openlibrary.org are seriously looking at using
>> foaf to model authors...and they are soliciting ideas on how to get it
>> right.
> Let's figure this out then.
> I think there are two important sub-scenarios here, and the mixing of
> bibliography / historical data with social Web data makes their
> interconnections very interesting.
> Scenario 1: SECRETS. One person has two activities in the world, and
> keeps them very distinctly separate. They have an alias or nickname or
> alternate persona. Examples here include Fake Steve Jobs
> http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/29/fake-steve-jobs-blog-likely-to-shut-down/
> and also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl_with_a_One-Track_Mind
> On that last example, Wikipedia has "Girl with a One-Track Mind is a
> blog by Abby Lee (pen name of Zoe Margolis" ... "Soon after the book
> was published, the Sunday Times published an article [3] which
> revealed the identity of the author as Zoe Margolis, an assistant
> director in the film industry. Margolis described the experience as
> "nightmare", "hell" and "fiasco"[1][4], writing about how deeply it
> affected her personal life and caused her to lose her career in the
> film industry[5][6]".
> Scenario 2: common public knowledge of the alternate name, eg.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell ("Eric Arthur Blair (25
> June 1903 – 21 January 1950),[3] better known by his pen name George
> Orwell").
> There is no clear dividing line between the two. Sometimes things
> merge slowly as time passes and the pain of revealed identity is
> forgotten. But I suggest we need two design notes:
> 1. To make clear that people have the right to privacy, to keep
> secrets, and that just because we know that two personas are the same
> real-world person, we don't have to publish that in RDF. An RDF
> document containing <foaf:Person foaf:name="Bob"/> and <foaf:Person
> foaf:name="Charlie"/> formally says *nothing* about whether there is
> one person or two. Many readers and applications will assume it means
> there are two people, but it doesn't. Only when we start to use
> different-individual or sameAs claims does counting become possible.
> In this light, I think describing the personas separately is most
> flexible. When such descriptions are linked we end up with two
> interchangeable foaf:name properties, "Bob" and "Charlie" and only
> contextual metadata to say which one to prefer.
> 2. When the names are well known to be the same person, and we are
> trying to capture uncontroversial common knowledge, then attaching
> them in the same person description makes more sense. For this, either
> multiple 'name' properties, or the SKOS altName makes sense.
> If we go with altName as a recommended pattern, do you think there is
> concensus in the bibliographic world as to which of the various names
> is the main versus the alternative? Does AACR2 / RDA cover these
> rules, for example? Is there something like stageName vs realLifeName
> implicit in this?
> cheers,
> Dan
>> //Ed
>> [1] http://www.mail-archive.com/ol-tech@archive.org/msg00048.html
>> [2] http://patterns.dataincubator.org/book/preferred-label.html
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