Identity, Reference, and the Web


and Philosophy

of the Web

Identity, Reference, and the Web


WWW2006 Workshop

Edinburgh, Scotland May 23rd


TimeAuthorTitle of Paper[HTML][PDF]
11:30-12:00 Harry Halpin (Introduction) Identity, Reference, and Meaning on the Web [PDF]
12:00-12:30Dan ConnollyA Pragmatic Theory of Reference for the Web[PDF]
12:30-1:00A. Gangemi and V. PresuttiThe bourne identity of a web resource[PDF]
2:00-2:30Allen GinsbergThe Big Schema of Things[PDF]
2:30-3:00David BoothURIs and the Myth of Identity[PDF]
3:30-4:00Coffee Break
4:00-4:30B. Parsia and P.F. Patel-SchneiderMeaning and the Semantic Web[PDF]
4:30-5:00Pat HayesIn Defense of Ambiguity[PDF]
5:00-5:30Steve PepperThe Case for Published Subjects[PDF]
5:30-5:45H. Choi, S. Kruk. S. Grzonkowski., K. Stankleicz, B. Davis, and J. BreslinTrust Models for Community-Aware Identity Management[PDF]
5:45-6:00John BlackCreating a Common Ground for URI Meaning Using Socially Constructed Web Sites[PDF]
6:00-6:30Henry Thompson (Chairing) Discussion: Where Next?

Hard copies of the workshop proceedings will be provided to attendees of the workshop, and workshop proceedings will be included in the DVD for WWW2006.

Note that the day of the workshop has been changed from the 22nd to the 23rd of May as to not conflict with the W3C AC Meeting.

Goal and Theme:

Our immediate goal for this workshop is to explore the nature of identification and reference on the Web, building on current work in Web architecture, the Semantic Web, and informal community-based tagging (folksonomy), as well as current practice in XML and theory in philosophy and linguistics. Underlying many of these discussions are critical issues of how one creates and construes meaning on the Web. This workshop should bring together researchers and practitioners from a variety of backgrounds in order to discuss and clarify these issues.

The greater goal of the workshop is to examine the architecture and philosophical basis of the Web by carefully inspecting how fundamental aspects of the Web can be clearly recognized and possibly improved.

URIs are the primary mechanism for reference and identity on the Web. To be useful, a URI must provide access to information which is sufficient to enable someone or something to uniquely identify a particular thing and the thing identified might vary between contexts. There is no doubt that as mechanisms for identifying web pages the URI has been wildly successful. Currently, URIs can also be used to identify namespaces, ontologies, and almost anything. However, important questions about the interpretation,use, and meaning of URIs have been left unanswered, questions that have important ramifications for everything from search engines to philosophy. As soon as matters get complicated, there is little or no consensus on issues of identification and reference on the Web. Put simply, given a URI, how should the nature of its intended referent be known in an interoperable and preferably automatic manner?

This is not an easy question to answer: for example, the Semantic Web and folksonomies present two distinctly differing viewpoints. On the Semantic Web a URI nominally identifies a single resource, while folksonomies rely on a more informal group consensus. Notions of identity will have even larger ramifications when privacy and trust become central issues for the Web. The management of this issue impacts practical issues of data integration on the Web and versioning and evolution for languages that use URIs, such as XML.

This workshop at WWW 2006 will offer an open forum to constructively discuss and make progress on these issues.
Picture of Binary Waves emerging from Black Holes - NASA

Paper Submission:

Paper submission is closed.

Topics Of Interest, but not limited to:
  • The nature of URIs and resources on the Web
  • Identification, perspectives and contexts
  • Philosophical analysis of issues reference, meaning, and identity on the Web
  • Linguistic theories of reference, meaning, and identity on the Web
  • Model-theories for identity and reference on the Web
  • Tagging and the Web 2.0 for identification and meaning
  • Concrete Standards for identification and meaning
    See Links for more information
    • 'tdb' URN and 'taguri' URI Scheme
    • Subject Indicators for Topic Maps
    • WPN RDDLs
    • URIQA
    • HTTP Status Codes
    • MIME Types
    • URNs and URLs
  • Impact of URIs and identification on Web Services and the Semantic Web
  • URI ownership and identification
  • How the Web Revolution effects traditional concepts of identify, meaning, and reference
  • URI usage for language versioning and identification
  • Identity and trust on the Web

Submission Instructions:

Submissions must conform to the ACM formatting guidelines for WWW2006 and must not exceed 10 pages, including all text, references, appendices, and figures. Submissions must be in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Papers are to be submitted to the workshop via e-mail by e-mailing

Workshop Co-Chairs

Programme Committee


Here are some examples of questions. For a quiz by Tim Berners-Lee, see here