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Re: Proposed issue: site metadata hook

From: Roger L. Costello <costello@mitre.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 13:49:37 -0500
Message-ID: <3E528041.71606E0@mitre.org>
To: timbl@w3.org
CC: www-tag@w3.org, tag@w3.org

On Tuesday, February 11, 2003 Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

> If, when these features were designed, there had been a
> general way of attaching metadata to a web site ...

Tim, we have been looking into this issue, and think an approach like
the following will work:

We propose two new HTTP headers: 

1. Meta-Location: when a Web resource is invoked with a URL
   the representation which is returned contains in the HTTP header
   a Meta-Location field containing a URL to the "authoritative"
   metadata resource.

2. Meta-About: when a metadata resource is invoked with a URL
   the representation which is returned contains in the HTTP header
   a Meta-About field containing a URL to the Web resource it 

Review: the URL in the HTTP Meta-Location header identifies the 
metadata resource. Conversely, the URL in the HTTP Meta-About 
header identifies the Web resource it is describing (e.g., a Web

The advantages of this approach are:

1. The approach is "RDF-like", in the sense that "third parties" 
can add-value to a metadata resource beyond the "authoritative" metadata
resource by simply publishing a metadata resource and setting the
Meta-About HTTP header.

2. Clients can specify the "flavor" of the metadata that they want
(e.g., RDF, OWL, WSDL, robots.txt) via the HTTP Accept header.

3. Ratings and seals of approval can be applied to the third party
metadata resources as well as the "authoritative" metadata resource.

4. It enables the establishment of resource reputations.

5. It is independent of the metadata technology (RDF, OWL, WSDL,
robots.txt, etc) and the resource implementation technology (SOAP, REST,

6. Local control of local resources: maintainers of each resource has
authority over their metadata, and can evolve it independently of

7. Low barrier to entry.

For more information see [1]. 

               - Roger L. Costello and David B. Jacobs

[1] http://www.xfront.com/dist-reg/distributed-registry.html
Received on Tuesday, 18 February 2003 13:49:59 UTC

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