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Re: network endpoints

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2008 09:53:53 -0400
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Cc: "Booth, David (HP Software - Boston)" <dbooth@hp.com>, Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, "public-awwsw@w3.org" <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF7C58C8F4.7EC35619-ON85257441.004B40C4-85257441.004C3F60@lotus.com>

Tim Berners-Lee writes:

> but can you not see how that
> 
> "The distinguishing characteristic of these resources is that 
> all of their essential characteristics can be conveyed in a message."
> 
> could be arrived at.

Yes.  Also, I think we haven't paid enough attention to the fact that this 
particular definition is grounded in what "can be conveyed in a message." 
The context of the problem we were trying to solve in AWWW was to explain 
certain ways that we wanted a particular network protocol, HTTP, to be 
used.  What the above says is, basically:  if you can convey the essential 
characteristics of some resource in the sorts of messages that HTTP uses 
for its responses (and PUT/POSTS), then it's appropriate to use the 
protocol in a certain way (I.e. status code 200).  I can see why a 
definition like this would look a bit strained if your goal as an 
"ontologist" were to divide all the things in the world into two piles: 
documents and non-documents.  In this case, we were specifically trying to 
explain how to use a network protocol.  For that purpose, the tie to 
"messages" in the current definition makes quite a bit of sense to me.

> I think that the "essential characteristics" should better be "essence".

Tough call.  I think both are OK, and neither is perfect.  Example: let's 
say a resource I own is comprised of some text that I wrote.  What I 
consider significant is the words, their placement into sentences, the 
punctuation, and abstract layout insofar as it's necessary to visually 
distinguish the paragraphs (it's my resource, so I get to say that's what 
it is).  I as the owner am satisfied that all of this can be conveyed in 
computer messages, including but not limited to some pretty obvious 
representations in text/plan, text/html, etc.  When I send such a message 
with a representation of my resource, is it really more appropriate to say 
that I've sent its essence or it's essential characteristics?   I'm not 
sure.  Neither term seems perfect to me, but I'm certainly content that my 
resource is just the sort of thing that the current definition of IR is 
trying to allow.

Noah

--------------------------------------
Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
1-617-693-4036
--------------------------------------








Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Sent by: public-awwsw-request@w3.org
05/02/2008 07:28 AM
 
        To:     "Booth, David (HP Software - Boston)" <dbooth@hp.com>
        cc:     Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, 
"public-awwsw@w3.org" <public-awwsw@w3.org>, (bcc: Noah 
Mendelsohn/Cambridge/IBM)
        Subject:        Re: network endpoints



On 2008-04 -28, at 13:13, Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) wrote:


From: Jonathan Rees [mailto:jar@creativecommons.org]
[ . . . ]
So I do not consider this a discussion on the definition of
awww:InformationResource. It may be unclear but we are not at liberty
to redefine it - it's published.

I think we *need* to redefine it.  The published definition at
http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-webarch-20041215/#def-information-resource
is unworkable.  It is: (a) known to be flawed; (b) not how the rest of the 
document implicitly defines it; and (c) not the actual concept on which 
the Web architecture is based.

To say it is flawed is maybe too strong.  It certainly isn't good.
It doesn't speak to your condition, maybe, but can you not see how that

"The distinguishing characteristic of these resources is that all of their 
essential characteristics can be conveyed in a message."

could be arrived at.  I think that the "essential characteristics" should 
better be "essence".  I certainly wanted to explain IIRC that the essence 
of the thing was information, without using the word information.

What better definition can you think of?
An item of information? (I like that at the moment)

Remember the impossibility of using english to precisely describe any 
technical term without writing a big book around it.
Received on Tuesday, 6 May 2008 13:53:28 GMT

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