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Re: AWWSW vs. httpRange-14

From: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2011 00:50:56 -0000 (GMT)
Message-ID: <d0e8997274f8225682fbad1d67350695.squirrel@webmail-mit.w3.org>
To: "Jonathan Rees" <jar@creativecommons.org>
Cc: "AWWSW TF" <public-awwsw@w3.org>
> In my current view there are two issues:
> 1. What notation do we use to write a reference to an 'information
> resource'?
> 2. What does such a reference mean, such that it can be used to good
> effect in various kinds of statements (eg. Dublin Core, FOAF, CC REL)?
> Clearly these interact, but pretend for a minute that they don't.
> #1 is related to Harry's complaint that # and 303 are too hard; he
> doesn't like it that we use dereferenceable URIs as references to
> information resources, because he thinks those URIs can be put to
> better use.  (IIUC.)
> #2 was the complaint that created AWWSW: If I *do* use a term (URI or
> anything else) referring to an "information resource" in a proposition
> (metadata), what do I mean, even if the webarch is assumed; and might
> we either record or set expectations for their use.
> The TAG was convinced this week that an issue needs to be opened for
> #1, and I will be moving that forward.
> It was already convinced #2 was a question, and that's how AWWSW was
> established.
> I think that Harry and Alan (and Larry Masinter) are saying something
> similar, which is: If it matters whether your meaning is clear, then
> IR references do not stand on their own, as they are inherently
> unclear.  To obtain interoperability, you have to stop talking about
> 'the information resource at a URI' entirely, regardless of how you
> refer to them. IR is a lost cause.
> This cuts both ways. If you want to be clear that you mean to use an
> http: URI to refer to something described in the accessed document,
> you need to write some statements to that effect. (This is clearly
> even harder than using # or 303.) If you want to be clear that you
> want it to mean the document, you also need to say something.  (So
> Creative Commons and FOAF would need to retool.)
> In this pessimistic view it's only if you don't care about being clear
> that http: URIs serve as references.
> In either case RDF graph merging (i.e. interoperability) is defeated
> since to merge a graph using a URI in one way with a graph using a URI
> in the other way either one or the other graph would need
> alpha-conversion, a rather nasty procedure.
> (There is a somewhat different story in the OWL context but I think
> much of this still applies.)
> The way to get interoperability is to stop using http: URIs (or at
> least hashless ones) for reference entirely. In this case we would
> still need a 'web semantics' to provide a vocabulary for talking about
> the documents that we find on the web, and perhaps relating them to
> the things they describe.  So the AWWSW project is in a sense
> independent of the notational question of what RDF terms we use to
> refer to IRs or documents.
> I hope it's clear I haven't completely given up on this as Harry and
> Alan have. However I do consider despair an option.

I haven't given up, I've just got low-bandwidth right now :)

My general feeling is to keep with http URIs, keep 303 as just *one*
option, but to allow people to deploy RDF with other mechanisms in http
URIs that do not require 303s (IRW comes to mind). Any scheme that does
not use http URIs as identifiers is likely going to fail. See URN, DOIs,
OKKAM identifiers, whatever.

Also, the entire 303 option seems to me more and more actually a cheap way
to get around the fact that browsers do a terrible job rendering RDF.
Therefore, perhaps the disconnect between the "browser" Web and the
Semantic Web is *actually* the root of the problem.

More later!

Thanks for keeping up all the hard work Jonathan.


> By the way I had forgotten about TAG Issue 39
> http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/group/track/issues/39 , which seems to be
> forgotten and forlorn. I'm not sure if it would be appropriate to
> track #1 and/or #2 under this issue; I sort of disagree with the
> formulation of the problem and I'm not sure AWWSW is a part of this.
> I'd be interested in hearing others' thoughts on the relation of our
> work to issue 39.
> Jonathan
Received on Saturday, 12 February 2011 00:50:57 UTC

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