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RE: Back to HTTP semantics

From: Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol) <skw@hp.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2009 14:56:08 +0000
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
CC: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, David Booth <david@dbooth.org>, AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-ID: <233101CD2D78D64E8C6691E90030E5C832D246476D@GVW1120EXC.americas.hpqcorp.net>
Hello Pat,
 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Pat Hayes [mailto:phayes@ihmc.us] 
> Sent: 15 June 2009 15:24
> To: Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)
> Cc: Jonathan Rees; David Booth; AWWSW TF
> Subject: Re: Back to HTTP semantics
> 
> 
> On Jun 15, 2009, at 3:49 AM, Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, 
> Bristol) wrote:
> 
> > Hello Jonathan,
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: public-awwsw-request@w3.org
> >> [mailto:public-awwsw-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Jonathan Rees
> >> Sent: 15 June 2009 02:38
> >> To: David Booth
> >> Cc: Pat Hayes; AWWSW TF
> >> Subject: Re: Back to HTTP semantics
> >>
> >> On Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 9:59 AM, David 
> Booth<david@dbooth.org> wrote:
> >>
> >>> Hold on, that's *way* overstated.  While Pat may not agree that URI
> >>> ownership gives *absolute* authority in establishing the referent  
> >>> of a
> >>> URI -- and I agree with that, as described in "The URI Lifecycle in
> >>> Semantic Web Architecture" http://dbooth.org/2009/lifecycle/ -- it is
> >>> quite clear that URI ownership at least has a very strong *influence*.
> >>
> >> This is an empirical question that would be difficult to evaluate. By
> >> "matters" I probably meant something more rigorous than what you
> >> thought I meant. To conclude that webarch "identification" ought to be
> >> aligned with RDF "interpretation" requires reading between the lines,
> >> since it's never explicitly stated normatively for HTTP or AWWW
> >> (neither of which talk about RDF) or in RDF semantics (which has no
> >> reference to the web). If someone takes on some RDF as a result of
> >> nose-following, they probably do so because they choose to, not
> >> because any spec they've seen tells them to.
> >
> > So... what effect does a normative reference from the RDF specs to  
> > the URI spec have?
> >
> > 	http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-mt/#ref-2369
> > 	http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-concepts/#ref-uris
> > 	http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-syntax-grammar/#ref-uri
> >
> > FWIW: I have always taken those references as establishing the link  
> > between URI as opaque names as presented directly in the RDF specs.,  
> > and what one might regard as the 'normal' interpretation of URIs on  
> > the web.
> 
> I don't read them as making any such link. They are simply references  
> to establish, in the usual way of references in written technical  
> prose, what certain terms of art are intended to mean. So the RFC2369  
> reference in RDFMT establishes, normatively, that when the body prose  
> of RDFMT uses the phrase "URI", it means by that what RFC2369 means by  
> it, and not, say, to refer to the University of Rhode Island. BUt that  
> does not in itself establish the kind of link that you imply here,  
> which has to do with RDFMT treating URIs as names which refer in some  
> way established or influenced by RFC2369. In fact, RDFMT explicilty  
> denies this, in its own normative prose. As far as RDF semantics is  
> concerned, apart from  one or two corner cases (reification and  
> seeAlso), the Web could not exist at all and nothing would be 
> different.

Fair enough... I won't argue about this, though I would say that the meme that RDF interpretration of URI are constrained by what might be called the Web natural interpretation is not original to me. Whilst I can understand and appreciate the denial that you mention in RDFMT with respect to the formalism presented there in - leaving interpretation unconstrained by the web itself - I think there are many who see interpretation implicitly constrained in that way when one joins the logical system RDF with the pragmatics of the web. Eg. If in RDF one were to use http://www.w3.org as a reference to my left foot, there would be an inconsistency in the total system even that were not so from the RDF interpretation alone.

> > Without such normative references I'd agree that there is nothing to  
> > drive such a conclusion... but with them... Roughly speaking I'd  
> > regard the normative references as constrainting the RDF  
> > intepretation of URIs with the 'normal' web interpretation of URIs  
> > (at least for those that have the latter).
> 
> Those references don't constrain the RDF interpretation of URIs in any  
> way at all. Not a smidgeon. In any case, RFC2369 simply does not speak  
> of interpretations of URIs, or indeed of any semantic issues.

:-) - RFC2396 and friends and various social registration processes set up a social system by which URIs become bound to things. But... I guess that comes down to what Jonathan called "reading between the lines".

Many of the early URI scheme specifications describe that binding in very operationalised terms (the FTP URI scheme is as good example - see http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1738, section 3.2 and subsections). In the light of our other exchanges I think that FTP URI would be seen as designating a 'container' rather than its 'content'.

> Pat
> 
> >
> > Maybe I misunderstand the effects or intended effects of normative  
> > reference.
> >
> > <snip/>
> >
> >> Jonathan
> >>
> >>> --
> >>> David Booth, Ph.D.
> >>> Cleveland Clinic (contractor)
> >>>
> >>> Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not  
> >>> necessarily
> >>> reflect those of Cleveland Clinic.
> >
> > Stuart
> > --
> >
> >
> >
> 
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Stuart
--
Received on Monday, 15 June 2009 14:57:06 GMT

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