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Re: Resources and URIs

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 09:05:05 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@apache.org>, pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Cc: uri@w3.org

At 16:51 23/04/2003 -0700, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
>>"This document specifies the syntax of URIs, which are a form of global 
>>identifier used in Web protocols and languages.  Particular uses of URIs, 
>>and their intended meanings in various contexts, are described in other 
>>specifications. In general, the entities referred to or identified by 
>>URIs when used in Web contexts are called "resources"., but this document 
>>does not specify the nature of resources or to restrict resources to any 
>>particular category of entities."
>>and leave it at that.  Nothing else at all about resources, no examples, 
>>no discussion.
>No.  Look, you guys aren't the ones who have to answer questions in the
>absence of definitions.  I do.    I refuse to leave what has been deployed
>in an unspecified state, regardless of how many arguments that causes
>in the Semantic Web.

OK.  I assume this is in response to the phrase "this document does not 
specify ...".

I think the argument about 'refer' vs 'identify' is a bit sterile, because 
I think I can supply an identifier for anything that Pat can refer to, and 
I think that anything with an identifier can be said to have identity (the 
identifier being sufficient if not necessary);  and clearly anything 
identified can be referenced.

>...  If SemWeb needs a better definition, then its
>proponents can reach consensus on what it should be and provide me
>with an appropriate text that has no adverse impact on deployed
>implementations of URI.
>I am not even remotely confused about what resource means.  That does
>not mean the definition can't be improved.

I have generally read the existing (RFC2396) text to mean that anything can 
be a resource.  On the margin, there may be some debate about whether there 
are or are not things that cannot be identified, but I don't think such 
things really matter to the immediate future of the Web.  On this 
assumption, maybe the last sentences of Pat's text might be:

The entities referred to or identified by URIs when used in Web contexts 
are called "resources".  Anything can be a resource:  there is no 
restriction on the nature of resources."


Graham Klyne
PGP: 0FAA 69FF C083 000B A2E9  A131 01B9 1C7A DBCA CB5E
Received on Thursday, 24 April 2003 06:25:00 UTC

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