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new text for Information Resource (section 3.1)

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 08 Sep 2004 15:56:48 -0400
Message-Id: <200409081956.i88Jumgf016367@roke.hawke.org>
To: public-webarch-comments@w3.org

I found the definition of "Information Resource" in 3.1 [1] very
confusing and discussion on www-tag suggests it's overly ambiguous.
I'm willing to provide evidence of its flaws if necessary, but I'd
rather skip to some replacement text.  I believe this text is
compatible with the current text and merely clarifies matters, but
people who interpret the current text differently may find this a
significant change.

   An "Information Resource" is a collection of information
   potentially transmittable via a computer network.  Digital forms of
   creative works (such as documents and images) are Information
   Resources, while certain conceptual entities (such as numbers and
   RDF properties) are not.  This distinction is becoming useful as
   people develop ways to use URIs to identify things which are not
   Information Resources.

   Physical objects and phenomena (eg sound) are not Information
   Resources, but they may be measured or otherwise used to produce
   information which can form Information Resources.  A hand written
   note is not an Information Resource, but a digital scan of it is.
   The weather at a particular place (a physical phenomenon) is not an
   Information Resource, but a collection of measurements or
   predictions of the weather are.  In the strictest sense, a
   computer-controlled "web-accessable" coffee-maker is not an
   Information Resource, but its counters, timers, and the readings of
   its sensors are.  The coffee-maker itself might have scratches,
   stains, and be positioned in a particular way on the counter, but
   it is the counters, timers, and sensor readings which are used to
   generate the web page.
   Information Resources are the only kind of resources which can have
   representations.  The number 1, which is not an Information
   Resource, might be said to be represented by the two-octet sequence
   0x0001, but not in the sense of "representation" used in this
   document.  A web-accessible control dial, set to "1", might respond
   to HTTP GET requests with a representation of its state: 0x0001.
   In this example, 0x0001 acts an identifier for the number 1 within
   the data format being used.  An HTTP GET of a URI for the number 1
   itself could meaningfully be met with an error or redirect, but not
   with a representation.

I'm sorry for poking at a sensitive spot in the document; I hope this
text is clear and precise enough to be helpful.

      -- sandro

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-webarch-20040816/#information-resource
Received on Wednesday, 8 September 2004 19:54:39 UTC

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