W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > February 2003

RE: Valid representations, canonical representations, and what the SW needs from the Web...

From: <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 14:40:06 +0200
Message-ID: <A03E60B17132A84F9B4BB5EEDE57957B5FBB06@trebe006.europe.nokia.com>
To: <algermissen@acm.org>, <paul@prescod.net>
Cc: <sandro@w3.org>, <www-tag@w3.org>

> ... I don't understand though, why the 
> authority is supposed
> to define what the URI denotes? 

Ummm, because they're probably the only one who knows, and
typically one does not create names for things vacuously without
some idea, usually a darn clear one, what the name is meant to

I doubt there are many folks minting URIs and thinking, "Gee
this is a rather nice looking URI, I wonder what it means,
maybe someone someday will tell me what it denotes...".

> ...Thus, the destinction between
> "URI identifies a web resource" and "URI indicates an 
> abstract concept"
> depends absolutely on the semantics of the link (the 
> addressing context).

Such a view would IMO be the death of the SW.

It allows everyone to decide for themselves what URIs
denote, which invalidates the very value of URIs to the
SW, as names having globally consistent meaning.

True, there are various ways in which contexts may come
into play, but not insofar as the denotation of a URI
is concerned.

> > I can only give it clear, semantic-web processable
> > meaning with RDF. 
> But then again, it depends on the context in which the URI is 
> used in that
> RDF document and it is still possible, even within the same 
> RDF document to
> say that a URI is a web page and an abstract concept. So you 
> can still end
> up with  "http://www.w3.org/index.html is not a web page".

I sure hope not...

Though, I have no problems with a URI denoting an abstract concept,
for which one can obtain a representation that happens to be a web
page, so long as one accepts that the entity (representation)
returned is never denoted by the same URI as the resource,
and must have its own URI denotation if you wish to say something
specific about it.

The problem is when a URI is used to ambiguously denote multiple
resources, such as http://www.w3.org denoting an organization,
a web site, a web page, etc. My guess, and it's only a guess,
is that http://www.w3.org denotes a web document. I can't offer
any guess about http://www.w3.org/index.html since no representation
appears to be available for it, and of course I can't (yet) do
an MGET to get all the rich metadata describing it (if any).


Patrick Stickler, Nokia/Finland, (+358 40) 801 9690, patrick.stickler@nokia.com
Received on Tuesday, 4 February 2003 07:40:14 UTC

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