Identity, Reference, and the Web (IRW 2006)

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Co-located WWW 2006 Workshop

Edinburgh Scotland

1 Day within May 23rd-May 26th

Call for Papers

Goal and Theme:

Our 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 tagging, as well as current practice in XML and theory in philosophy and linguistics. This workshop should bring together researchers and practitioners from a variety of backgrounds in order to discuss and clarify these issues.

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 "tagging" present two distinctly differing viewpoints. On the Semantic Web a URI identifies a single resource, while tagging relies 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.

Paper Submission:

We are soliciting papers on this topic from a variety of perspectives, and welcome papers from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, and practical experience from industry and standards work.

Topics Of Interest, but not limited to:
  • The nature of URIs and resources on the Web
  • Identification, perspectives and contexts
  • Model-theories for identity and reference on the Web
  • Philosophical analysis of issues of identity and reference on the Web
  • Linguistic theories of reference and identity on the Web
  • Tagging and Web 2.0 for identification
  • Concrete Standards for Identification
    See Links for more information
    • 'tdb' and URN and 'taguri' URI Scheme
    • Subject Indicators for Topic Maps
    • WPN RDDLs
    • URIQA
    • HTTP Status Codes
    • MIME Types
    • URNs and URLs
  • Impact of URIs Identification on Web Services and the Semantic Web
  • URI ownership and identification
  • How the Web Revolution effects traditional concepts of identify 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
Comments will be given by three reviewers, including at least one specialist in Web architecture and one specialist on theories of reference and identity. For any questions, please contact the co-chairs.

Workshop Co-Chairs

Programme Committee

Currently still in formation...


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