Re: Bibtex Ontology

From: Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2004 16:53:41 -0500

Nick Matsakis wrote:

> On Tue, 2 Nov 2004, Butler, Mark H (Labs Bristol) wrote:
>>You are using the term "reification" incorrectly.
> No, to reify something is to represent it as a first class object. In
> RDF, this means "give it a URI". The reification you are talking about is
> reifying an RDF statement, but you can reify other things too. When I
> talk about "reifying authors" I mean taking a literal property of a
> publication resource and giving it a URI.

Mark Butler wrote:

> Hi Nick

> Sorry I stand corrected on the use of the term reification.
> Unfortunately though reificiation is becoming synonymous with
> statement reification e.g

> "reification is the action of using a statement as the
> subject for another statement."

> Sorry Stefano :)

Ehm, first of all, my little blog post was never meant to be used as a
reference :-)

Anyway, I think that while Nick is correct in the use of the
'reification' terminology in the broader term, I strongly suggest
against using it like that, because

explicitly says what 'reification' means in an RDF context and, like in
this case, creates confusion because "giving a literal a URI" is not
called reification by nobody.

Unless I'm seriously mistaken, in RDF you can reify only statement, not
a literal.

The concept of "allowing a litteral to be identified by giving it a
formal URI" is not called reification, and even the use of a more
general definition of reification ("regarding something abstract as a
material thing" or from the latin ethimology "to make everything
material") is not going to help you making things more clear.

We have better things to do than to argue about terminology, but if we
stick with the common one, it's easier to communicate.

Stefano Mazzocchi
Research Scientist                 Digital Libraries Research Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology            location: E25-131C
77 Massachusetts Ave                   telephone: +1 (617) 253-1096
Cambridge, MA  02139-4307              email: stefanom at mit . edu
Received on Wed Nov 03 2004 - 21:53:47 EST

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