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RE: URIs / URLs

From: Lee Jonas <ljonas@acm.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 22:05:27 +0100
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>, <ftobin@uiuc.edu>
Message-ID: <PJEHIGCEAMAHEAPOOFBEAEJACBAA.ljonas@acm.org>
Frank Tobin <ftobin@uiuc.edu> wrote:

>Lee Jonas, at 16:25 +0100 on Thu, 12 Apr 2001, wrote:
>
>    Ok, so if I want to store some metadata that states you wrote the
>    email this is a response to, which URI would you suggest I use for
>    the email and which URI to identify you?
>
>From what I've been able to grasp of this conversation, there is no means
>to identify "people", as they are not entities identifiable via URI's, but
>rather we can only identify discrete projections of the person in the net.
>Perhaps what we should say is that "the author if this email reads the
>mail at bob@abc.com".  While this statement does not hold true over all
>time, it could be stated to be true for within a certain expiration time.
>
>If you think about it, in the end, there is no real way to really
>absolutely identify a person; any identifier or collection thereof could
>be transferred to another person.
>
>If I'm way off base here let me know...I'm trying to keep up with this...
>
>--
>Frank Tobin		http://www.uiuc.edu/~ftobin/

Yes, a "person" *can* be identified with a URI, either directly with a URN
or indirectly with a URL, which specifies the location of a discrete
projection of the person on the Net.  I.e. you are talking above about URLs
only.

One problem with using a URL to identify a person, is
mailto:someone@somewhere.org can also refer to their mailbox and
http://somewhere.org/~someone can also refer to their home page.  It would
be far simpler IMHO to use URLs for mailboxes and web pages and identify
people with URNs.

Of course, any identifier is only as good as the body that controls it - in
an ideal world it should remain consistent, but we are not living in an
ideal world.

That is the other complaint I have about using URLs to identify physical
resources such as people.  It seems that for the most part the bodies that
control the identifiers are organisations, and people do not stay with the
same organisation all their lives.  As such, their Net identity commonly
changes when they change jobs.

As a person, I could identify myself with, say, a centrally registered URN
that stayed with me all my life.  Others can use it to unambiguously talk
about me, the physical entity - not me via a specific mailbox or a specific
web page within my current employer's domain.

regards

Lee
Received on Thursday, 12 April 2001 17:03:28 GMT

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