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Re: ungetable http URIs

From: Kevin Smathers <kevin.smathers@hp.com>
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 09:41:05 -0800
Message-ID: <3FCF71B1.1060807@hp.com>
To: Nick Matsakis <matsakis@MIT.EDU>
Cc: Stefano Mazzocchi <stefano@apache.org>, SIMILE public list <www-rdf-dspace@w3.org>

I think that in your argument for didacticism you ignore the real 
problem of when resources should be gettable, and when they should point 
to real-world objects.  An OCW course lists the contributors to that 
course; gettable or ungettable.  Your argument doesn't provide any 
advice -- it depends on what you mean by a contributor, a real person, 
or a proxy for that person.  I think we all agree already that real 
people cannot be delivered by an HTTP GET.

The problem is just pushed down a level.

I propose that the databases we have in hand always reference proxies, 
not real things.  That is, when OCW lists an author, what it really 
means is an entry in its list of authors, not the author him or 
herself.  Likewise works of art, &c. all reference not the actual work 
but what we know of the work.  Assigning URN's to real-world objects is 
the task of an authoritative index such as the Getty ULAN, or the OCLC 
name authority; unless we commit Simile to the work of being such an 
authoritative index (a task which there has been no whisper of), the 
best we can do is reference the entry in our records of who the person 
is, and try to link that record to the authoritative references.  In 
other words, ALL of the references we work with should be gettable URL's


Nick Matsakis wrote:

>On Mon, 1 Dec 2003, Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
>>>I think things that don't meet those requirements should get ungetable
>>What kind of URIs wouldn't meet those requirements, IMO? [not caustic,
>>just curious]
>I think its generally pretty clear whether things can be expressed as bits
>or not.  JPEG image? bits. Oil painting on canvas? not bits.  There are
>some digital artifacts whose bits are constantly changing or even never
>the same, such as websites, but those are still bits (in fact, HTTP
>can provide metadata for those bits that lets you know whether they are
>static or dynamic).  I don't have any objection to things that can be
>expressed as bits being given gettable URIs, even if they are not
>available at those URIs.
>The other fringe case is internal nodes in RDF data structures.  I'm not
>sure what the current consensus on this is, but on systems that implement
>b-nodes they can be blank, and not have any URI.  If, for some reason,
>they do need URIs assigned, then I think ungettable ones would be

   Kevin Smathers                kevin.smathers@hp.com    
   Hewlett-Packard               kevin@ank.com            
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Received on Thursday, 4 December 2003 12:43:01 UTC

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