Cooler URIs for the Semantic Web

Get to know how cool URIs can be, for the Semantic Web.

W3C logoEverything needs to be identified, being it a person, a web document, an image, or a mythical unicorn. The Semantic Web and RDF are based on the assumption to identify them all using URIs. But these need to be cool, so read “Cool URIs for the Semantic Web” which was published on 31.3.2008 as a W3C Working Group Note.

The official statement is:
2008-04-01: The Semantic Web Education and Outreach (SWEO) Interest Group has published an Interest Group Note Cool URIs for the Semantic Web. The Resource Description Framework (RDF) allows users to describe both Web documents and concepts from the real world people, organizations, topics, things in a computer-processable way. Publishing such descriptions on the Web creates the Semantic Web. URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) are very important to the Semantic Web, providing both the core of the framework itself and the link between RDF and the Web. This document presents guidelines for the effective use of URIs in the context of the Semantic Web.

The note was edited by Richard Cyganiak and myself, and it took us from November 2006 (ISWC, where we had the idea to write it) until yesterday, the 31st March 2008 to finally finish it. Max V├Âlkel was also with us at the beginning and helped us to stay motivated. I am happy about this event – we have finished it! Excellent! Horray!

Read some comments from reviewers that also made us happy:

  • “… I think this is quite an important note…” Harry Halpin
  • “… I thought it was good before, but now it’s excellent!…” Susie Stephens
  • I think this is an important document. It contains a large amount of very valuable material, … ” Tim Berners-Lee
  • “… a few places which are confusing, and a small number places which are, I believe, actively misleading. There are also one or two places where I disagree about the recommendation it makes. On the whole, though, the document is important and I hope energy is found to incorporate these comments. ” Tim Berners-Lee, about an earlier draft. And all these issues have been answered, Horray! ­čÖé

Alltogether, we had a hard work to get it right and there have been some last minute changes on 20th March 2008 incorporating much feedback from the W3C Technical Architecture Group.

Many thanks to Tim Berners-Lee who invested much time and helped us understanding the TAG solution by answering chat requests and contributing many emails with clarifications and detailled reviews of this document. Special thanks go to Stuart Williams, Norman Walsh and all the other members from TAG, who reviewed this document and provided essential feedback in June 2007 and September 2007 about many formulations that were (accidentially) contrary to the TAG’s view. Also special thanks to the Semantic Web Deployment Group‘s members Michael Hausenblas, Vit Novacek, and Ed Summers’ reviews and their review summary sent in October 2007. We wish to thank everyone else who has reviewed drafts of this document, especially Chris Bizer, Gunnar AAstrand Grimnes, Harry Halpin, Xiaoshu Wang, Henry S. Thompson, Jonathan Rees, and Christoph P├Ąper. Susie Stephens reviewed the document, managed SWEO, and helped us to stay on track. Ivan Herman did much to verify that the W3C requirements are met and submitted the note.

The work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education,
Science, Research and Technology (BMBF), (Grants 01 IW C01, Project EPOS: Evolving Personal to Organizational Memories; and 01 AK 702B, Project InterVal: Internet and Value Chains) and by the European Union IST fund (Grant FP6-027705, Project Nepomuk).

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