Identity, Reference, and the Web (IRW2006) Workshop

source:    workshop above
This is not an easy question to answer: for example, the Semantic Web and folksonomies present two distinctly differing viewpoints. On the Semantic Web a URI identifies a single resource, while folksonomies relies on a more informal group consensus. Notions of identity will have even larger ramifications when privacy and trust become central issues for the Web. The management of this issue impacts practical issues of data integration on the Web and versioning and evolution for languages that use URIs, such as XML.
Note Joshua joshua of group kabal is on the committe. and that Pat Hayes is a co-chair.

Here are the questions the workshop is supposed to answer:

Here are some examples of questions. For a quiz by Tim Berners-Lee, see here
  • How does a URI authoritatively establish its meaning?
  • Is the "meaning" of a URI established by the owner of the URI, the model-theoretic definition of the URI in terms of the Semantic Web, it's "social meaning," or the document (information resource) it returns?
  • If a mixture of these, how do we formalize the informal aspects so that machines can use them?
  • What does the open-world and trust assumptions mean for formal model theories?
  • What responsibilities does the owner of a URI have to establish the identity of the URI and does this include a machine-readable format?
  • What things can and cannot "have identity" on the Web? Is a genera of such things useful, or even possible?
  • What sort of things can a URI dereference? Does dereference mean "returning something concrete" or is it an abstract relationship with no necessary grounding?
  • Is there a resource for "Moby Dick?" If so, does it have a URI(s)? If not, what is the preferred method of creating one?
  • How can I mint a URI that refers uniquely to myself, and maintain control of it?
  • Are some URIs ambiguous? Is this common?
  • How can one make sure one's URI interoperates well with other URIs that identify the same thing? Can or should this process be automated for use with machines?
  • What are the concrete advantages of using centralized or decentralized identification systems?
  • Is there any reason to use a URN instead of a URL?
  • What sort of document or status code should a XML namespace or Semantic Web URI return?
  • What separates the Web from other forms of communication, and does this impact how traditional problems in linguistics and philosophy? For example, a URI implies access to a resource, which is not the case in linguistics.
  • What are the distinctions between representation on the Web and the use of the word "representation" in AI and philosophy? How are they the same, and how do they differ?
  • Has the Web changed our understanding of information? Is information theory and model theory strong enough foundations for the Web, and how should they be employed?
  • How are new technologies using URIs (Web Services, Semantic Web) in ways that are expanding, or breaking them? How can we layer these new technologies successfully on top of each other?
  • Does tagging present a more robust, albeit fuzzier, way to identify than URIs? Are there other alternative means of identification?
  • What advantages and disadvantages come into play with only looking at the content of documents on the Web, and ignoring URIs?
  • Does any of this matter, and what practical steps forward need to be taken? Or otherwise how can we close the debate, and make it clear that it does not matter?


  1. identity
  2. workshop
  3. 2006
  4. semantic web
  5. irw2006
  6. pat hayes
  7. joshua

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