[open-bibliography] owl:sameAs + congruence closure + similarity

William Waites william.waites at okfn.org
Thu Jul 8 17:29:31 BST 2010

On 10-07-08 12:14, Ross Singer wrote:
> I agree with Bernard that the use of owl:sameAs may wind up being
> problematic in the long run and I'm not sure when, how or if it can be
> reconciled.  There's a big gulf between rdfs:seeAlso and owl:sameAs
> and, unfortunately, there's not much to use in between.  People want
> to say that they're talking about the same /thing/ as someone else but
> the only broadly accepted way to do so (currently) is to pull out the
> atomic bomb that is owl:sameAs.

Speaking with my desk-neighbour at the university who is
a reseacher in compilers, he thinks the notion of congruence
closure will be useful in an implementation that tries to deal
with owl:sameAs. You might pull in descriptions of everything
in the graph described by owl:sameAs relationships, pick
one (perhaps at random) to be canonical (within the program),
move all properties to that one and treat the others as

Only if people really mean owl:sameAs when they  say
owl:sameAs though...

I think there's actually a deep philosophical problem that
underlies the gulv between dfs:seeAlso and owl:sameAs.
It's easy to assert identity and it's easy to assert similarity
in an undefined way. Defining specific, meaningful notions
of "relevantly similar in this or that way" is hard.


William Waites           <william.waites at okfn.org>
Mob: +44 789 798 9965    Open Knowledge Foundation
Fax: +44 131 464 4948                Edinburgh, UK

RDF Indexing, Clustering and Inferencing in Python

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