4 thoughts on “Identifiers in Content

  1. Kudos for tying the awesome power of (globally) unique identification to components of content. There are so many examples where the establishment and acceptance of reference identifiers achieves a kind of ‘symbol grounding’ that enables new, higher, levels of information management to take place – think URI’s, Facebook’s single IDs, Social Security Numbers, zip codes, and even language itself – that it’s easy to imagine uniquely identified content components enabling truly revolutionary smart content systems and products.

    To me a logical extreme of this argument is global URI’s on defined/structured semantic units – a kind of URI scheme for meaningful units of semantic information. For example the fact of, say, ‘Twitter appointing Jack Dorsey as CEO’ becomes a single defined URI, with defined structure, properties and roles. Not easy, but if we got to established, accepted ‘symbol grounding’ at that level what would that enable?

    1. Thanks very much David for your comments. I didn’t get much into the wonky details of how to place identifiers in content, and you are right that there are many approaches available, including URIs. Because there can be many layers of identification needed, I think a hybrid strategy makes sense. We need machine-intelligible identifiers (URIs), human-usable unique identifiers for authors (ID numbers), and human viewable and understandable identifiers for audiences (reasonably unambiguous names/titles). These can be tied together of course. The other need is to offer identifiers for different levels of information. We need to identify the source, the complete statement (which may be complex), and specific entities and properties within the statement (which can be numerous, and not necessarily a 1:1:1 relationship).

      In terms of identifying statements, the approach endorsed by nanopublication would seem to offer what you are aiming for. It seems complementary to your work on structured stories.

  2. Thank you – the nanopublication approach is very relevant to my work, and, I think, to structured journalism more generally. I had not been aware of this project, and will study it carefully.

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