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

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 16:34:54 -0500
To: Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>
Cc: uri@w3.org
Message-id: <1085434494.32020.1268.camel@dirk>

On Mon, 2004-05-24 at 16:13, Norman Walsh wrote:
> / 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.

Oh? Hmm... I don't think I have any particular compelling
argument against that view; I hope others do; meanwhile...

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

In attempt to walk this fine line, the current draft says
  "Anything that has been named or described can be a resource."
which I don't find very helpful. Is the picture frame on my
desk a resource? I dunno; for all I know, somebody out there
gave it a URI; I suppose I just now described it. But I
haven't sent this mail message yet. Is it a resource before
I hit send? Why am I talking to myself like this? Witness
comments by Hayes about using "can be" in a definition,
and so on.

Do you like the current definition, Norm?

I think TimBL suggested that among this
philosophical discussion, an important question to be
able to answer is "can I give _that thing_ a URI?"
and of course, the answer is "yes". It seems helpful
to make "is _that thing_ a resource?" be the same
question, and to make the answer just "yes".

> 
>                                         Be seeing you,
>                                           norm
-- 
Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Monday, 24 May 2004 17:34:51 UTC

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