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Re: resources, stuffs and individuation

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 05:41:30 -0400
To: Joshua Allen <joshuaa@microsoft.com>
Cc: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@apache.org>, pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>, uri@w3c.org
Message-ID: <20030423094130.GV9281@tux.w3.org>

* Joshua Allen <joshuaa@microsoft.com> [2003-04-22 17:11-0700]
> 
> What is wrong with saying:
> 
>    A resource can be anything that can be named.
> 
> It appears that is what you mean to say

That has two readings:

  - could in principle be assigned a name
  - could be mentioned by name (because it has one)

The former gets us back into resources are just things territory,

the latter view, roughly the "to be is to be
the value of a uri" view of 2396 resources, is one 
I find quite worrying. As Pat noted just now, it is a 
coherent view but one with significant implementation 
and specificiation costs associated with it. I don't really
want to have to keep a timeline for each resource-or-thing
to keep track of which things currently "count" as resources.
Not least since there is no practical way of telling at
any point in time which things in the world have URIs that 
denote them.

For example, I don't currently believe any URIs denote me,
but nor do I care or for that matter know how I'd find out. 
But there is a truckload of RDF software out there
that just gets on with the job regardless, using 
reference-by-description strategies and other conventions for
making reference to me without using URIs. Right now that RDF code 
will treat me as a 2396 resource, just as it treats my homepage and
mailbox as resources. Do we have any practical reason for 
asking that RDF and other Web data systems start to distinguish 
things that "can be named" (in the 2nd sense above) from 
those that can't? If not, then let's run with "could in 
principle be assigned a name", which boils down to 
"resources are just things". (Hmm so long as we don't actually try
to assign all those names in reality, but that's another story.)

Dan
Received on Wednesday, 23 April 2003 05:41:33 GMT

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