W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-sweo-ig@w3.org > February 2008

Re: Review of SWEO "Cool URIs for the Semantic Web"

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 12:55:22 +0000
Cc: public-sweo-ig@w3.org, tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <DE28C45C-DC5D-44AB-82C8-C853F188A4EC@danbri.org>
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>

On 24 Feb 2008, at 05:25, Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

> 3.1 Distinguishing between web documents and real-world objects
> ** This section has major flaws in its argumentation.  It says  
> "Above we assumed that there is a distinction between web documents  
> (information resources)andreal-world, non-document objects (non- 
> information resources). The question is where to draw the line  
> between them. "
> That is, with respect, NOT the question.  That is a question is one  
> which has proved unproductive.

Well said. I like this new spin on this topic.

>  It is not fruit full to try to define from scratch "Information  
> resource" The question is to distinguish between something and a  
> document about something.

Yup. We put :primaryTopic (and :isPrimaryTopicOf inverse) to allow  
this distinction to be stated explicitly.

> That distinction has been introduced already in the document and  
> explained well.  Now we have to explain that 200 means "Here is the  
> content of the document you requested" and 303 means "Here is the  
> URI of a document about the thing you requested".    When that has  
> been explained, then the class of things which get a 200 will be  
> clear by people understanding the protocol.
> Later, it says 'The problem now is that web documents are also part  
> of our perceived world, hence they are real-world objects in their  
> own right.". But this is NOT a problem.   Once you have thrown out  
> non-information resources" and replaced it with "things".    ((For  
> example,   mobydick#this may denote a book, and mobydick may denote  
> a library catalog card about the book. Both the book and the card  
> are documents, one is about the other. That is the relationship  
> which is important.))

It is certainly progress to move away from the line that the world  
falls into two huge classes, "Information resources" and "Non- 
information resources".

The distinction here is instead between REST representations of  
something (a concept close to that of a serialization), versus 'mere'  
descriptions of those things. And deciding where to cut on that line  
seems to me somehow a matter more of pragmatism.

Re things vs documents-about-things, ... are "self describing things"  
the focus of our previous disagreement?

I've previously taken the view that eg. foaf:Person is a self- 
describing thing, so when you get an HTTP REST representation of it,  
you get a descriptive representation of it. You never get the thing  
itself. You have complained that this confuses the thing with its  
description. Is there a way to rearticulate the discussion of  
foaf:Person in terms that don't mention information resources?


Received on Sunday, 24 February 2008 12:57:25 UTC

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