Data and Reality: A Timeless Perspective on Data Management by Steve Hoberman.
I remember William Kent, the original author of “Data and Reality” from a presentation he made in 2003, entitled: “The unsolvable identity problem.”
His abstract there read:
The identity problem is intractable. To shed light on the problem, which currently is a swirl of interlocking problems that tend to get tumbled together in any discussion, we separate out the various issues so they can be rationally addressed one at a time as much as possible. We explore various aspects of the problem, pick one aspect to focus on, pose an idealized theoretical solution, and then explore the factors rendering this solution impractical. The success of this endeavor depends on our agreement that the selected aspect is a good one to focus on, and that the idealized solution represents a desirable target to try to approximate as well as we can. If we achieve consensus here, then we at least have a unifying framework for coordinating the various partial solutions to fragments of the problem.
I haven’t read the “new” version of “Data and Reality” (just ordered a copy) but I don’t recall the original needing much in the way of changes.
The original carried much the same message, that all of our solutions are partial even within a domain, temporary, chronologically speaking, and at best “useful” for some particular purpose. I rather doubt you will find that degree of uncertainty being confessed by the purveyors of any current semantic solution.
I did pull my second edition off the shelf and with free shipping (5-8 days), I should have time to go over my notes and highlights before the “new” version appears.
More to follow.