Semantic Web

Personas for FOAF Namespace 2 June 2010

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Toby Inkster


Some people have multiple personas. For instance Agatha Christie published both under her own name and under the name Mary Westmacott; U2's Bono is a distinct persona from Paul Hewson; Clark Kent and Superman are two personas used by the Kryptonian visitor Kal-El in the Superman series of comics, films and associated spin-offs. Sometimes in RDF, one wishes to model these different characters separately; at other times, we wish to recognise that they're each facets of the same individual. This vocabulary provides a structure for describing in RDF the many personas a person might have; it is an extension to the popular FOAF vocabulary.

The prefix to use for this vocabulary is

The following image attempts to show the relationship between foaf:Person resources (in green) and Personas (in blue).

(relationship diagramme)

Related work: For a different approach, more appropriate when an actor is playing a role, take a look at the BBC's Programmes ontology. To model online accounts, you probably want SIOC. Finally, to associate a single person with different (possibly non-overlapping) collections of contact details, vCard in RDF is probably the way to go.



Subclass of skos:Concept

A persona or identity adopted by someone. This may be their main or only identity. This is a resource distinct from the URI they use to identify themselves as a foaf:Person. For instance, Batman and Bruce Wayne are the same foaf:Person, but different Personas. While Michael Keaton and Adam West (amongst others) have played Batman on screen, that is a different kind of relationship, and may be better off modelled with a separate vocabulary.


Subproperty of moat:localMeaning
Domain Persona
Range foaf:Agent

Associates a Persona with a Person. Some personas may be associated with multiple people; some people may have multiple personas.


See also foaf:maker
Range Persona

Associates a work (book, recording, painting, etc) with the Persona that is generally credited as creating it. Note that due to the many-to-many mapping between People and Personas, it is not usually possible to automatically infer foaf:maker/dc:creator properties from this.

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