W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-comments@w3.org > May 2012

RE: Definition of "Resource"

From: Grant Robertson <grantsr@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 28 May 2012 11:21:27 -0700
To: "'David Wood'" <david@3roundstones.com>, "'Richard Cyganiak'" <richard@cyganiak.de>
Cc: <public-rdf-comments@w3.org>
Message-ID: <AFFC3A5383944193BC2A2BD2F65075F6@grantdesk>
Perhaps I should have taken a different tack. I was not attempting to add to
the definition of the word "resource" I was merely trying to illustrate that
there are already many levels of abstraction within the current definition
and one of the levels of abatraction is the implication that a resource - in
the context of web technologies - must be useable by a computer. Sure, you
can transmit or transfer an IRI or a text literal via any means - including
memorizing or even sky-writing - but I assert that those are merely means of
transmition and not actual web resources. Why? Because a computer cannot use
them until they have been translated into a form a computer can use
directly. Richard's more narrow definition of "text literal" which relies
upon "unicode code points" is more specific and illustrates my naiveté on
the subject, but still misses the point. A unicode code point is still
either a sequence of bytes in a computer or it cannot be used within the
context we are discussing until it is expressed as a sequence of bytes in a

Conversely, "metadata" does not always need to be in a specific format in a
computer file or database. "Metadata" more generally means information about
information. Therefore, said metadata-information about other information
may be implied merely by where said regular information is located within a
file or written down on a piece of paper or how said information is
formatted. This is why I was careful to always say "some form of metadata"
in my original message. 

But my intention is not to debate whether something counts as a text literal
if it is merely printed on paper. My intent is to illustrate that there are
many, many levels of abstraction that we take for granted when discussing
any topic, especially a topic such as RDF, which is all about adding
additional levels of abstraction. Some may chose to see those levels of
abstraction - as I did when questioning whether characters printed on paper
count as text literals - or one can chose to ignore those levels of
abstraction - as Richard did when he claimed that those patterns of ink on a
piece of paper actually are text literals but merely need translation into a
form the computer can use (my implication, not his).

Therefore, attempting to eliminate one possible level of abstraction by
creating an impossibly narrow definition is very likely a waste of time.
People are both used to those levels of abstraction AND have differing ideas
as to what is another level of abstraction and what is essentially the same
thing. I know, this argument could be used to argue that the word "Station"
should be used for everything (see Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey) but we humans
have settled on a workable balance between reduction in levels of
abstraction and effeciency of communication with intended audiences, and it
helps to keep said workable balance in mind when inventing new terms. 

> -----Original Message-----
> On May 28, 2012, at 06:37, Richard Cyganiak wrote:
> 	Trying to fold concerns such as computer memory, 
> storage devices, or the presence of metadata into that 
> definition just confuses things.
> +1
Received on Monday, 28 May 2012 18:21:56 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 20:29:53 UTC