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Re: removing constraints on 'resource' [024-identity]

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 17:24:51 -0400
To: Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>
Cc: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, uri@w3.org, msabin@milessabin.com, tbray@textuality.com, joshuaa@microsoft.com
Message-ID: <20040524212451.GC19808@homer.w3.org>

* Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM> [2004-05-24 17:13-0400]
> / Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org> was heard to say:
> | Regarding...
> |
> | "Anything that has been named or described can be a resource."
> | -- http://www.gbiv.com/protocols/uri/rev-2002/rfc2396bis.html#overview
> |
> | Based on discussion with TimBL and Roy and a few others,
> | as well as review of this issue...
> |
> | 024-identity Resource should not be defined as anything that has
> | identity
> | http://www.gbiv.com/protocols/uri/rev-2002/issues.html#024-identity
> |
> | it seems more straightforward to just say
> |
> | 	A resource can be anything; familiar examples include an 	electronic
> | document, an image, a service (e.g., "today's weather
> | 	report for Los Angeles"), and a collection of other resources,
> | 	but there is no constraint on what is a resource.
> 
> I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I agree that
> anything can be a resource. On the other, it seems useful (to me, at
> the moment) to distinguish the infinity of things that can be
> resources from the finite number of things that actually are.
> 
> I have in mind something that does not have a URI (it's a virus on a
> grain of barley in the stomach of a pink elephant in orbit around a
> red dwarf). Until I (or someone) gives it a URI, it does not
> participate in the web architecture, so what useful purpose is served
> by calling it a resource in it's current "un-URI-ed" state?

Because you can mention/describe things without naming them by URI.
Sometimes (especially with help of RDF/OWL or rule languages) you can even
make those mentions/descriptions unambiguous, so that it becomes evident
to people and machines that there was 'at most one thing' that could fit
the description. 

For example, the mail message whose mail:mid  is 87smdp7cm3.fsf@nwalsh.com
was written by the person whose foaf:homepage is http://nwalsh.com/

That message, and that Person, are both things-aka-resources, from an
RDF point of view, regardless of whether they have URIs or merely have
URI-named properties or are merely described in prose.

(similarly, if that virus on the barley really existed, that message was 
in part about that virus, and we could say so in RDF pretty easily;
let's not have a thread about identifying non-existent things though...)



> Conversely, what harm is caused by saying that it isn't (yet) a resource?

Without a story that explains how something gets named by (some kind of)
URI, it becomes a very un-interesting property, technically. In which
case, the concept adds little but confusion to our explanation of URIs
and the Web.

Dan
Received on Monday, 24 May 2004 17:24:51 UTC

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