Cool URIs Are Human Readable

author: Phil Archer, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
published: July 12, 2012,   recorded: June 2012,   views: 5554


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In order to aid data interoperability between public administrations across Europe, the EU's ISA Programme is promoting the development of a system whereby things like standards, code lists and vocabularies can be discovered through a common metadata system called ADMS. In parallel, a number of core vocabularies have been developed for describing people, businesses and locations. And guess what? All the documentation is in English. The RDF and XML schemas are all in English and the terms in those vocabularies are all English words. All the hooks are in place for the schemas to be localised, but the problem goes a little deeper that merely finding the budget for localisation: Language is part of someone's identity. In some cases it's a defining national characteristic and so in order to create a framework for interoperability across national borders we need not only to get the language right but also the culture and the trust. Vocabularies must be available at a stable URI, be subject to an identifiable policy on change control, and be published on a domain that is both politically and geographically neutral. Technically, this last point is irritating since is a "dumb string," but can you imagine the French government using it? Or the UK government using anything ending in .eu? Multilingual Linked Data needs localised RDF vocabularies and localised reference data but don't overlook the importance of the branding and/or national identity inherent in a domain name. Cool URIs are human-readable—and humans are irrational.

The transcript of the Q&A session "Linked Open Data and the Lexicon" is available here.

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Download slides icon Download slides: w3cworkshop2012_archer_human_01.pdf (520.1 KB)

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