W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-awwsw@w3.org > November 2008

Re: statements about resources vs. representations

From: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2008 18:39:50 +0000
Message-ID: <49270076.9060409@ibiblio.org>
To: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
Cc: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, "public-awwsw@w3.org" <public-awwsw@w3.org>

Alan Ruttenberg wrote:
> AFAIK there is no way to make a statement about a representation, only
> about a resource. Therefore we can not evaluate the truth of something
> like a statement involving containsWord solely by looking at
> representations.
Furthermore, I was under the impression that this inability to speak
about representations is a "feature", not a bug, since one assumes that
representations in of themselves are too ephemeral for someone to *want*
to make statements about them.  More below:
> -Alan
> On Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 8:58 AM, Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org> wrote:
>> (Using "representation" in the AWWW sense here.)
>> Suppose I have a resource R, and for some reason I believe that
>> R dc:creator author:Charles_Dickens.
>> Now suppose that I do a GET to obtain a representation, and let F be
>> the fixed resource (see [1]) whose representation is this representation.
>> (I'll need a term for the coercion of representation to fixed resource, so
>> I'll say "the FR of the representation.")
>> Assuming good faith and proper functioning on everyone's part,
>> can I conclude that F dc:creator author:Charles_Dickens . ?  I suspect
>> so, but is this idea codified anywhere? Wouldn't this be part of AWWSW?
You have no choice, as you can't talk about the representation.
>> It seems to me that some properties will be shared between a resource
>> and its representations' FRs, while others aren't.
Ah, this is a problem, one I think the HTTP in RDF draft is working on.
>> E.g. a property containsWord could easily be true of one representation
>> but not another (e.g. if the representations differ by language). Or,
>> more obviously,
>> one can meaningfully talk about the media type and content-length of a FR,
>> but not necessarily of its originating resource. Volatility is similar: the FR
>> is by definition not time-varying, but the resource may be.
>> I guess this is what Tim's "generic resources" memo [1] is saying.
>> Are there any properties of a resource that can be inferred
>> from its representations? That is, when I do a GET, do I
>> (or rather a stupid automated agent) learn anything
>> at all about what the resource is? I certainly don't learn anything
>> about, say, volatility, unless we're lucky enough to have
>> a credible assertion about it in the representation.
>> But I would guess that at least for things like authorship
>> (aspects of the content), if P and Q are disjoint classes,
>> and P applies to a resource's representation's FR, then you can conclude that
>> Q does not apply to the resource? That is, if you find that
>> any representation's FR's creator list consists of {George Eliot}, then
>> you know that the resource's creator list cannot be {Charles Dickens}.
It would seem like one has no choice but to infer the resource from the
>> This doesn't hold for volatility: volatile and nonvolatile are disjoint.
>> Conjecture: It seems that this analysis could continue, e.g. by helping
>> one to understand the domain, range, and arity (functional, inverse
>> functional, etc.) of various properties such as authorship and volatility
>> that one might apply to (information) resources.
>> [1] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Generic.html
>> P.S. Is anyone interested in the AWWSW group any more?
Received on Friday, 21 November 2008 18:40:31 UTC

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