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Re: Are generic resources intentional?

From: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 09:47:06 -0400
To: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Cc: AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1243604826.21145.37.camel@dbooth-laptop>
I think I may understand phlogiston better than "intent" :) so I'm not
very hot on trying to capture "intent".  I'll get to an alternate
suggestion in a moment, but first a brief recap.

During our last call we identified a key difference between ftrr:IR
(function from time and requests to representations) and how TimBL
describes Generic Resource (GR): a GR can have identity beyond merely
being a function from time and requests to representations.  I.e., two
GRs with exactly the same "trace" can still be different GRs.

After puzzling about this a while, two things occurred to me:

1. In usage, my notion of an "information resource" (IR) as ftrr:Ir may
not be in conflict with TimBL's notion of GR.  In "Denotation as a
Two-Step Mapping in Semantic Web Architecture"
I have argued that we should think of a URI's resource identity in terms
of a set of assertions that constrain the permissible interpretations
for that URI.  This means, for example, that it is perfectly reasonable
for a URI to denote an "information resource" (IR) but *also* have
attributes beyond those that are due to being an IR.  Two URIs could
have the same IR attributes but they could differ in other attributes.
Thus, the IR *aspects* of the two resources would be the same -- those
are the aspects that are relevant to the HTTP protocol, for example --
though they would not be the same resource in every respect.  This may
be a way to reconcile TimBL's notion of GR with ftrr:IR.

2. If GRs can have identity beyond merely being ftrr:IRs (or,
equivalently, beyond their "traces") exactly what attributes can or
cannot they have?  For example, dc:author sounded permissible, but what
other attributes?  I think this question might be fruitful to explore.

David Booth

On Thu, 2009-05-28 at 08:48 -0400, Jonathan Rees wrote:
> I've been puzzling over the question of how two generic-resources can
> have the same trace by virtue of a difference in meaning, e.g. the use
> case Tim gives where he and I both work at Burger King for a week and
> end up with identical-looking time sheets (same trace), that are
> really distinct generic-resources simply because of properties not
> reflected in the traces.
> Allow me to call this difference "intent" - I won't define this but
> Alan, don't jump all over me, build on what I say. It is the missing
> dimension, the resource's "essential characteristic" that is not
> conveyed in any wa-representation.
> I don't know what "intent" is ontologically; I use the word as a
> placeholder. It has to be quite broad, so that it allows me to say
> that the GR named by
> http://random.org/integers/?num=100&min=1&max=100&col=5&base=10&format=html&rnd=new
> has "intent" - namely the web site author's intent to satisfy the
> world's hunger for white noise. Generally, we have grandfathered all
> "web pages" just by saying that none of them are accidental
> (unintentional) - someone went to the trouble of registering a domain
> name, setting up a server, and deploying content. We also get Moby
> Dick, since someone went to the trouble of writing it - it didn't fall
> from the sky. And we get Finnegan's Wake and Beethoven's 7th for the
> same reason even though know one knows what message they convey.
> But I think "intent" can explain another use case Tim has given. He is
> adamant that numbers, such as the 46th Mersenne prime, are not
> information resources. I was puzzled by his refusal because it seems
> very clear to me that all of its essential characteristics *can* be
> conveyed in a message; I just did so. But if we set aside the AWWW
> definition of IR, and instead talk about the Tim-derived GR model, we
> can say that something that has a wa-representation that is a numeral
> designating the 46th Mersenne prime is a perfectly fine GR, since the
> *intent* is to communicate the digits of the 46th Mersenne prime;
> while the number itself does not carry any intent and is therefore not
> a GR.
> More generally, "intent" explains why GRs are contingent on the real
> world, as opposed to being purely mathematical constructions, while
> still being able to withstand any Xiaoshu-like attempts at giving them
> mass and phsyical location.
> If we can determine that
> (a) "intent" is not vacuous, and
> (b) "intent" is the *only* way that generic-resources can differ,
> other than in their traces
> then we will have a complete characterization of generic resources: GR
> = trace + intent.
> I read this and find "intent" to be very similar to "phlogiston", but
> remember that chemistry had its origins in alchemy.
> Jonathan
> Appendix: Use cases
> 1. http://random.org/integers/?num=100&min=1&max=100&col=5&base=10&format=html&rnd=new
>   - yes
> 2. Moby Dick  -yes
> 3. Beethoven's 7th  - yes
> 4. 46 Mersenne Prime  - no
> 5. A 19th-century publication that has no URI yet (possibly ever) - yes
> 6. data:text/plain,intent_depends_on_context  - no? (doesn't imply
> intent; only names a trace)
> 7. function from time and request to representation - no (doesn't
> imply intent; only names a trace)
> 8. "network data object" a la RFC 2616 - some of them, yes, if you
> take this to mean "generic resource deployed on a network"
> 9. "network service" a la RFC 2616 - ?
> ...
David Booth, Ph.D.
Cleveland Clinic (contractor)

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect those of Cleveland Clinic.
Received on Friday, 29 May 2009 13:47:38 UTC

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