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Re: Announcement: The "info" URI Scheme

From: John Cowan <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 07:44:00 -0400
To: Patrick Stickler <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>
Cc: ext Garret Wilson <garret@globalmentor.com>, "ext Hammond, Tony (ELSLON)" <T.Hammond@elsevier.com>, www-rdf-interest@w3.org, uri@w3.org
Message-ID: <20031002114400.GI28352@mercury.ccil.org>

Patrick Stickler scripsit:

> It is an understandable common misconception that what an HTTP
> server actually returns is what is denoted by the URI. The fact
> is that we can never be absolutely sure what resource a URI
> denotes based on what is returned by a server. In some cases
> it's easier to guess than other cases, but typically you can't
> ever be sure. Hence the car/document problem.

This characterization of the problem is far
too mild.  Consider the resource whose URI is
http://www.tagyerit.com/images/adopted/shakespeare.jpg .
You can't do a direct GET on this any more, but it's
still available (for now) in the Google cache at
http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:IbW4adfRGVkC:www.tagyerit.com/images/adopted/shakespeare.jpg

If you retrieve this resource, you will get a sequence of bits labeled
image/jpeg.  But what is the resource?  Is it Shakespeare?  Is it a
(generic) picture of Shakespeare?  Is it this *particular* image of
Shakespeare?  Or is it something else altogether?  Nobody can say,
probably not even the person who posted the picture to the Web.

> And hence the reason for URIQA. To be able to obtain an authoritative
> answer to the questions "What does this URI denote, and what is
> that thing like?". A representation of the resource might be able
> to give a human some clues, but being able to obtain a formal,
> precise description of the resource is much better.

A fine thing indeed.  How would you formally characterize the relationship
of the above URI to Shakespeare?

-- 
If you understand,                      John Cowan
   things are just as they are;         http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
if you do not understand,               http://www.reutershealth.com
   things are just as they are.         jcowan@reutershealth.com
Received on Thursday, 2 October 2003 07:44:24 GMT

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