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Re: Resources and URIs

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 08:49:00 -0400
Message-Id: <200305051249.h45Cn0Yg006420@roke.hawke.org>
To: "Larry Masinter" <LMM@acm.org>
cc: uri@w3.org

> URIs do not "denote".
> The question
>  "What does URI http://blahlah.example.org/blahblah denote?"
> is, in general, unanswerable.
> The act of "denoting" is something that a speaker of
> a statement might do, using a URI, but the denotation
> is not a property of the URI but of the speaker's use
> of it.

But surely every URI that deserves to be called a URI *is* used in
communication, and is used roughly as a noun, and is used to denote
the same thing in every use (give or take edge cases of resources
"moving" and perhaps some uses of cookies).

> URIs do (attempt to) "Identify". They do this by
> making reference to some algorithm associated with
> the scheme. "http" URIs identify something that you
> use the HTTP protocol to talk to.

Even if all schemes can be considered to correspond to algorithms
(which I'm not sure about), I think it's cleaner to consider the
scheme as identifying a language by which information is expressed in
the text of the URI.  An HTTP URI serves both as a name (a noun) and
as a message to people who want to use that name, telling them how
they can find out more about the named thing (and do other web
operations with it and its agents).

> I think it's important that RFC 2396bis explicitly
> disclaim any responsibility for denotation, since it
> is so widely presumed.

Can you sketch out a situation where someone thinking every URI had a
denotation would build software that did the wrong thing?  

     -- sandro

Received on Monday, 5 May 2003 09:27:54 UTC

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