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Re: misunderstanding at last telecon re AWWW sense of IR

From: <david@dbooth.org>
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 13:15:46 EDT
Message-ID: <17239.1241975746@dbooth.org>
To: "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>, "Jonathan Rees" <jar@creativecommons.org>
Cc: "AWWSW TF" <public-awwsw@w3.org>
  BODY { font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px; }Hi
 I thought we made an important step in the last meeting when TimBL
indicated that {AWWW sense of IR} was *intended* to be the same notion
as Generic Resource on your diagram, i.e.,  the sense defined in 
 I think one of the fundamental disconnects we've had in these
discussions revolves around the question of whether an RDF statement
author should have any choice about whether to model a real life thing
t as a an information resource or not.  Let me contrast two views.
 View #1: Given a real life thing t (perhaps the book Moby Dick, the
Bible, a person, a web page, etc.), if one knows enough about t then
one should be able to determine, based on the definition of
"information resource", whether t *is* an information resource.  In
this view, the assumption is  that either t is or is not an
information resource, and there isn't any *choice* involved in whether
it is or isn't.  There may be difficulty in learning enough about t to
figure out which it is, and there may be difficulty in sufficiently
understanding the definition of "information resource" to figure out
which it is, but given perfect understanding of both t and
"information resource" there wouldn't be any choice involved.
 View #2: Given a real life thing t, is it reasonable to *model* t as
an information resource?  In this view, t may have characteristics
that are like those of an information resource, but it may also have
additional characteristics.  Certainly, if t's characteristics are not
at all like those of an information resource, then it would *not* be
reasonable to model t as an information resource.  So, for example,
one might argue that it is not reasonable to model a real person as an
information resource.  However, it may be reasonable to model the
Bible or Mody Dick as an information resource even though the Bible or
Moby Dick may have characteristics that go beyond the definition of
"information resource".  For example, if we took the definition of
"information resource" to be ftrr:IR as defined in
 then surely Moby Dick would not exactly be an ftrr:IR, because an
ftrr:IR is a *function* whereas Moby Dick is a *book*.  But in some
sense it seems quite reasonable to *think* of a book as being a
function, i.e., to model it that way.  
 Thus in view #1 there is no choice involved, while in view #2 there
is some choice involved.  In view #2 the problem becomes one of
deciding whether it is reasonable to *model* t as an information
resource.  This boils down to the question of whether the definition
of information resource is consistent with the assertions that the RDF
author wishes to make, and wishes to allow others to make, about t. 
If we think of resource identity as being defined by sets of
assertions, then this in turn boils down to the question of whether
the core assertions that define the notion of "information resource"
are consistent with (a) the core assertions that define the notion of
t that the statement author wishes to capture and (b) auxilliary
assertions that the statement author wishes to permit others to make
about t.  The notions of "core" and "auxilliary" assertions are
described further in 
 BTW, unless further qualified, I am using the term "information
resource" in a technical sense corresponding to ftrr:IR, awww:IR,
Generic Resource or something similar.  I am *not* using it in a
generic English sense.
 Anyway, my point is that I think views #1 and #2 are fundamentally
different.  I think view #1 leads us into trying to better define the
boundaries of exactly what is and what is not an information resource.
 TimBL has repeatedly argued that it is pointless to try to decide
corner cases of whether something is or is not an information
resource.   Yet if one holds view #1, there will inevitably be a
tendency for these "corner cases" to come up.  My sense is that this
is part of what has been going on.
 David Booth
 On Sat 05/ 9/2009 12:48 PM , Jonathan Rees jar@creativecommons.org
 I was very disturbed that we had such a disconnect last time
 what I was calling the AWWW sense of "information resource". I've
 thought about it a lot and have a hypothesis around the
 When I said {AWWW sense of IR}, I meant what a competent person, who
 is not in the community but has access to AWWW and its referenced
 documents (transitively), would understand the term to mean - that
 based only on what AWWW says, not on any other kind of information,
 which would be inaccessible to such a person. I think that person
 would look in the glossary and the rest of the text, and take away
 whatever it said. If the meaning was Hayes-Halpin ambiguous, well,
 it goes.
 When you heard me say {AWWW sense of IR}, I think you understood me
 talking about what the authors of AWWW, or perhaps a subset or maybe
 just one, *meant* by "information resource", which possibly is what
 any sensible person familiar with the debate would understand it to
 mean. (I wouldn't consider myself sensible; clearly I'm incredibly
 dense on this  subject.) Perhaps that meaning coincides with
 resource" per your design note; that would be nice since then I
 use the design note to help me understand what was intended.
 Perhaps the two are *meant* to be the same; my point is just that
 absent information that is *outside* AWWW and the design note, a
 reasonable person would not be able to conclude that the two are the
 same, just (at best) that they *might* be the same, given suitable
 interpretations of all the terms in question.
 If I thought we were talking about the first, and you thought we
 talking about the second, then I can see how it would be easy for us
 to come to blows. I thought I was being very clear by saying "AWWW
 sense of IR", and was wrong. If your advice is to ignore that sense
 being uninteresting, misleading, or legalistic, then I will accept
 record that advice, end my futile quest to figure out what a
 characteristic is or how to distinguish an essential one from a
 nonessential one, and move on to other work.
 (I have said repeatedly that I don't want the group to decide what
 IR is, or even to attempt consensus on that. There's no
 as my goal here is only to figure out what *you* mean by the term.)
Received on Sunday, 10 May 2009 17:16:25 UTC

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