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From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 00:28:54 -0700
To: "RDF Interest" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>, "RDF Logic" <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>

Pierre-Antoine Champin wrote:

>> Though, URLs are frequently used to identify resources, either the one
>> they locate or another one.
>> This makes them tricky and unreliable as identifiers.

Aaron Swartz replied:

> I'm a bit confused -- what would be a resource that they located but
> identify?

Consider a URI used to identify a resource not retrievable over the
Internet. Say, Aaron Swartz. Unless we quickly invent a Star Trek-like
transporter system that works over wires, fiber optics, or radio waves,
there is no way for me to retrieve Aaron Swartz or even a copy of him over
the Internet.

So if I assign the URL/URI http://people.com/AaronSwartz to Aaron Swartz,
that may serve to *identify* Aaron Swartz, but it does not locate him. At
best it locates a description of Aaron. Thus http://people.com/AaronSwartz
might serve as the identifier for Aaron Swartz, and as the identifier AND
locator for the description of Aaron Swartz, but it cannot serve as the
locator for Aaron Swartz because Aaron Swartz IS NOT ON THE INTERNET AND

Put another way, http://ideals.com/JUSTICE might serve as an identifier for
the concept of justice, but does it *locate* justice? I think not (though I
wish it were that easy to find justice in this world).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the question is, Do we need identifiers
for non-retrievable items such as concepts, people, etc. or do we really
only need to identify descriptions and other resources that are retrievable
over the Internet?

Hell, I don't know. You tell me.

Charles F. Munat
Seattle, Washington
Received on Thursday, 12 April 2001 03:30:53 UTC

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