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Re: URx Questions

From: Patrick Stickler <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 18:25:05 +0200
CC: URI <uri@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B8720D81.BFEF%patrick.stickler@nokia.com>
On 2002-01-21 17:46, "ext Daniel R. Tobias"
<dtobias@21STCENTURYINVESTOR.COM> wrote:

> On 21 Jan 2002 at 17:11, Patrick Stickler wrote:
>> There is, I feel, a significant difference between might not resolve
>> and must not resolve. It is true that a resource denoted by a URN may
>> never have a digital representation instantiated at any given location,
>> but that doesn't make such a URN the equivalent of a URP.
> But, to play "devil's advocate" for the contemporary paradigm (after
> my earlier arguments in favor of a more elaborate taxonomy), "never"
> is a very long time... things tend to change, sometimes in
> unpredictable ways, but their names don't always change accordingly --
> look at the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz, whose team names made
> more sense when they were the Minneapolis Lakers and New Orleans
> Jazz.
> Thus, when somebody assigns a name in a particular URI scheme to
> something based on his assessment of whether or not that "something"
> ever will be resolvable on the Internet, this assessment may well be
> contradicted by later events, leading to a need for a kludged-up
> method of resolving URIs of a form that were supposed to be defined
> to be unresolvable, or contrariwise, to the continued use of URIs to
> things no longer resolvable that use schemes that indicate supposedly
> resolvable resources, because they've embedded themselves as
> identifiers in some context where they can't easily be changed.

A very good point. Let me try to answer it in two halves:

1. A URI which is originally intended to denote a retrievable
   resource: if that resource later has no web-accessible
   representation or expression, that doesn't change the quality
   of that resource. The name of a person who lived does
   not suddenly become invalid once they die nor equivalent
   to the name of a fictitious person. Likewise, one may
   loose all copies of some resource, but that doesn't mean
   that the resource was abstract, or should be treated now
   as abstract, just because it is no longer retrievable.

   Do URLs then denote abstract resources when offline? ;-)

2. A URI which is originally intended to denote a non-retrievable
   resource: firstly, if the resource is abstract, or non-digital,
   then one would hardly expect it to suddently become
   retrievable in a digital context such as the web. One would
   only be able to retrieve secondary knowledge or representations
   of those non-retrievable resources, not the resources themselves.

   Taking a scifi view, if later one is able to digitize physical
   entities (beam me up, Scotty) then perhaps we have to rethink
   this, but I guess we have a little bit of time to philosophise
   around that one ;-)

The key is the inherent, intended quality of retrievability
or non-retrievability ascribed to the resource denoted by the
URI, not whether the resource is or is not retrievable at some
point in time or in some given context.

Maybe that answers your question, maybe not, but that's my stab
at it at the end of a long day...


Patrick Stickler              Phone: +358 50 483 9453
Senior Research Scientist     Fax:   +358 7180 35409
Nokia Research Center         Email: patrick.stickler@nokia.com
Received on Monday, 21 January 2002 11:24:10 UTC

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