When owl:sameAs Isn't the Same: An Analysis of Identity in Linked Data

Harry Halpin, Patrick Hayes, James McCusker, Deborah McGuinness, Henry S. Thompson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In Linked Data, the use of owl:sameAs is ubiquitous in interlinking data-sets. There is however, ongoing discussion about its use, and potential misuse, particularly with regards to interactions with inference. In fact, owl:sameAs can be viewed as encoding only one point on a scale of similarity, one that is often too strong for many of its current uses. We describe how referentially opaque contexts that do not allow inference exist, and then outline some varieties of referentially-opaque alternatives to owl:sameAs. Finally, we report on an empirical experiment over randomly selected owl:sameAs statements from the Web of data. This theoretical apparatus and experiment shed light upon how owl:sameAs is being used (and misused) on the Web of data.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Semantic Web -- ISWC 2010
EditorsPeter Patel-Schneider, Yue Pan, Pascal Hitzler, Peter Mika, Lei Zhang, Jeff Pan, Ian Horrocks, Birte Glimm
PublisherSpringer-Verlag GmbH
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-17745-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Berlin / Heidelberg


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