Saturday, December 15, 2007

Whe needs birthPlace

With some regularity I try to better understand Semantic Web and associated subjects. I find it hard going but also a compulsive subject. When you express the relation "Johan Cruijff" "birthPlace" "Amsterdam", it is understandable to you as a reader but for humans it should read like "Johan Cruijf was born in Amsterdam" or "Johan Cruijf werd geboren in Amsterdam" .. This magical statement "birthPlace" can be interpreted when you know your English otherwise it is truly for machines only.

OmegaWiki does express relations, you will find for instance that Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. In essence it is expressed as a triple, but it is expressed in natural language and depending on the existence of a translation, you will read the relation in the language selected as your user preference.

How to combine what we do and what happens elsewhere, my latest idea is based in the RDF tag; "birthPlace". It is a construct that obviously needs a natural language equivalent and this is what OmegaWiki can provide. A method is needed to connect the two. In order to function, birthPlace has a very precise definition and this definition must be part of a collection of such definitions. These labels need to be linked to OmegaWiki DefinedMeanings as the identifier for an OmegaWiki collection.

To make this useful, an external application needs to call a function that provides the translation to a specified language. How to combine this with the notion of an URN I have not figured out yet.


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