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From Sebastian Schaffert <sebastian.schaff...@salzburgresearch.at>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] Apache Linda
Date Mon, 19 Nov 2012 08:01:50 GMT
Hi Ted,

I read all your mail ( :-) ) and I am sorry that this evolved into such a discussion. For
me, "Linked Data" is as specific as "Web", "Stack" or "Heap", and I would claim it is like
this for at least the rest of the Web community and possibly the database community as well.
But regardless what we think about it, fact is the label has been established and the time
to criticise it would have been 7 years ago. With other people, I'd like to say.

I can fully understand your position though: coming from a logics background in CS, I had
similar concerns with the name "Semantic Web", because nothing is really "Semantic" about
it. From a logics point of view, it is all about symbols, the semantics would require an interpretation.
I realised that opposing the term doesn't really help, though, since the world around me still
continued using it. ;-)

So, let's go forward with the constructive part of the discussion. We will sit together in
about 1 hour and I am sure we come up with a solution (one way or the other - if it remains
"Linda" we will have good arguments for it). And thanks again for rising the legal issue -
something we will take into the discussion.

Greetings,

Sebastian


Am 18.11.2012 um 21:55 schrieb Ted Dunning:

> On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 1:45 AM, Paolo Castagna <castagna.lists@gmail.com>wrote:
> 
>> ....
> 
> On 17/11/12 22:49, Ted Dunning wrote:
>> 
>>> Frankly, the phrase "linked data" is also so generic as to be essentially
>>> meaningless outside your community.  There are many, many uses of this
>>> phrase in computer science that mean something completely different from
>>> what you guys seem to mean.
>>> 
>> 
>> Where else is the phrase "linked data" used with a different meaning?
>> 
> 
> The problem is that the phrase is generic and can arise in general speech.
> 
> Links and pointers are ubiquitous in computer parlance.  Nothing in the
> phrase "linked data" constrains the meaning to *that* kind of link for
> *that* kind of data other than the usage in a relatively small community.
> 
> 
> What 'those guys' seem to mean is well described in the Linked Data
>> Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/**Linked_data<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linked_data>
>> 
>> Please, notice there isn't a disambiguation page. :-)
>> 
> 
> That is because the phrase is only used as a proper noun for one thing.
> But it is used commonly as a descriptive phrase.
> 
> The comparable phrase "red flowers" doesn't need a disambiguation link in
> wikipedia either because the meaning is apparent as a compositional
> construct.
> 
> 
>> The above wiki page seems pretty short and clear to me.
>> 
> 
> But the phrase itself is so vanilla that searching on the web to find the
> meaning (to a native speaker, anyway) seems kind of pointless.
> 
> My question was not "what does linked data mean?" because it seemed like I
> could come up with ten meanings for the term.  The question was "which of
> the many possible meanings are these people talking about?".  Note that a
> web search wouldn't answer that question because the existence of a common
> usage does not imply that any given community is following that common
> usage pattern.
> 
> Is there anything  in your opinion which isn't clear and should be better
>> explained?
>> 
> 
> I think that you are missing the point.
> 
> The problem is that the phrase itself doesn't have any signal that there is
> any nominative usage going on.  If I were speaking German and used the
> English phrase, there would be a very strong signal, but we aren't doing
> that.
> 
> As such, I think that most mentions of "linked data" should include some
> such signal.  In a proposal aimed at people outside your community, in
> particular, you need something along the lines "the phrase linked data is
> used here idiosyncratically to refer to ...".  If you assume that the
> reader knows what kind of link you mean between what kind of data, then the
> documents you produce will tend to be impenetrable.  Assumptions like this
> are common within insular communities and commonly lead to
> misunderstandings like this.
> 
> The phrase "linked data" is composed by two words and the common definition
>> of 'linked' (in particular if referred to the Web) and 'data' applies here
>> unchanged. If you think at the Web as is big 'library' of linked
>> 'documents', can we do the same also for data, instead of documents? How?
>> This is what 'linked data' is all about and what it is trying to achieve: a
>> Web of data.
>> 
> 
> I get it now.  My point was that your proposal didn't convey this.
> 
> And I would contend that the common definitions of linked and data when
> combined do not unambiguously come up with Linked Data(tm) as you tend to
> use the phrase.  With the proper predisposition, it might, but your
> predisposition is not shared universally.  I cite myself as the existence
> proof of at least one experienced and active computer scientist who had no
> clue what you were going on about.
> 
> Having a project name that memorializes a phrase that nobody is likely to
>>> understand without (lots of) supporting material and which is used by
>>> other
>>> projects in roughly the same domain is problematic.
>>> 
>> 
>> I disagree.
>> 
> 
> Well, you can't disagree that I was confused by your proposal.  I don't
> think that you can disagree that a big part of the cause of the confusion
> was the use of the generic phrase "linked data" in a highly specific way.
> 
> Take other terms that have succeeded easily:
> 
>    hyperlink
> 
>    web log => blog
> 
>    web page
> 
>    atomic clock
> 
> Each of these is essentially a phrase, but one that did not have a prior
> common usage.
> 
> 
>> The 4 principles are very clear and simple:
>> 
>> 1. Use URIs as names for things
>> 2. Use HTTP URIs so that people can look up those names.
>> 3. When someone looks up a URI, provide useful information, using the
>> standards (RDF*, SPARQL)
>> 4. Include links to other URIs. so that they can discover more things.
>> 
>> We could debate indefinitely on the "using the standards ..." part, but
>> should we do it here?
>> 
> 
> No.  You can define things any way you like.  That isn't the point.
> 
> 
>> What's isn't clear to you from the four principles above?
>> 
> 
> The clarity of the four principles isn't the point.  The clarity of the
> phrase "linked data" without somewhat unusual foreknowledge and without the
> definition is the point.  A phrase that has to have its definition
> schlepped around with the phrase is hardly very useful.
> 
> 
>> You already know what a URI, HTTP URIs, links are. Isn't it? :-)
>> 
> 
> Yes.  But you are way out in the weeds here arguing a point that doesn't
> need to be made.
> 
> 
>> Now, I could have sympathy with you if you point your finger at RDF and
>> SPARQL, but,
> 
> 
> Ahh... but each of these has names that are clearly not something else.
> Thus, if I don't know about triples and such, I still can see that I
> *don't* know what these phrases are.
> 
> With "linked data", I don't have a clue that I don't know what you are
> talking about.
> 
> 
>> ... and clear... and if you want you can always refer to the W3C
>> Recommendations (those are your primary sources of information in this
>> case).
>> 
> 
> but how would a person know that is where these terms are defined?
> Especially when you are giving them a huge pointer toward blackboard
> systems with the name Linda?
> 
> 
>> ...You should be aware, however, that with these defects, it seems very
>> 
>> unlikely to me that Apache would be able to help with trademark and name
>>> conflict issues.  That may not seem like a big deal now, but if your
>>> project really does get going and then somebody tries to take over your
>>> community with a nearly identically named product, it will definitely feel
>>> like a big deal.  Take a look at what happens with Open Office all the
>>> time.
>>> 
>> 
>> Regarding the name, I have no better suggestion than dropping the 'n'?
>> Linda --> Lida (but I have not done much research to see if that has
>> problems or not).
> 
> 
> How about following the tradition established by the contraction of web log
> into blog?
> 
> That would give "web linked data" => Blinda
> 
> It is still a female name if you need the gender stereotyping of Linda.  It
> seems to have non-English meanings, but certainly has no connotations in
> English.  It also seems to have no prior technical usage.

Sebastian
-- 
| Dr. Sebastian Schaffert          sebastian.schaffert@salzburgresearch.at
| Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft  http://www.salzburgresearch.at
| Head of Knowledge and Media Technologies Group          +43 662 2288 423
| Jakob-Haringer Strasse 5/II
| A-5020 Salzburg


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