W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > April 2002

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

From: Miles Sabin <msabin@interx.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 22:22:07 +0100
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002601c1ebd6$169bc300$a3eab8c3@milessabin.com>
Sandro Hawke wrote,
> 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.)

This is a coherent position to take, but I'm afraid it does a great
deal of damage to RDF and anything else which uses URIs in a similar
way. Take the the example from the RDF M+S yet again,

  <rdf:RDF>
    <rdf:Description about="http://www.w3.org/Home/Lassila">
      <s:Creator rdf:resource="http://www.w3.org/staffId/85740"
         v:Name="Ora Lassila"
         v:Email="lassila@w3.org" />
    </rdf:Description>
  </rdf:RDF>

Is this asserting that some information about Ora Lassila created
http://www.w3.org/Home/Lassila or that Ora Lassila did? If we want the
assertion to be true then it has to be the latter.

If anything, I think you might just be giving me more grist for my
mill. I might be prepared to accept that in hypertext-clicking 
contexts (which are not conceptually equivalent to HTTP retrieval
contexts, because you could have the one without the other) URIs 
typically designate information about something or other, whereas in 
assertion contexts they typically denote the the something or other 
itself. IOW, the URI is ambiguous in the absence of appropriate 
context.

Cheers,


Miles
Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2002 17:27:15 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 7 December 2009 10:51:53 GMT