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Re: Disambiguation; keeping the "U" in "URI"

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 16:43:06 -0400
Message-Id: <200204242043.g3OKh7X06393@wadimousa.hawke.org>
To: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
cc: Nick Matsakis <matsakis@mit.edu>, www-rdf-interest@w3.org

> Words like "web site" and "home page" just confuse discussions like
> this.  They're artificial.  If 99% of a large number of people say stuff
> like;
> 
> <a href="http://www.ibm.com/">IBM</a> is a good company
> 
> then that's sufficient to establish that "http://www.ibm.com/"
> identifies the company.

Hardly.  It's sufficient to establish that "IBM" identifies the
company and that the URI "http://www.ibm.com/" identifies a good
source of information about the company (specifically the company's
official website).

Clicking on a link in a hypertext system means "tell me more about
this thing".  The "thing" is identified to the user in your example as
"IBM".  The web tells you more about things by fetching and displaying
web pages containing natural-language information about them.  Nowhere
in the system is the thing itself formally identified, just the place
where you can get some information.

In other words, an HTTP URI denotes a potential source for
information.  Pure and simple, and so obvious that you don't like it,
it seems.  (It's also a potential sink for POST and PUT.)

TimBL, with his "cool URLs don't change" perspective, says the
information at some address should remain constant or improved, so one
can treat the URI as if it denoted the collection of information
itself, I think.  This approach is somewhere between best practice and
wishful thinking.

    -- sandro
Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2002 16:48:11 GMT

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