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Re: SemWeb use case for issue httpRange-14

From: Miles Sabin <miles@milessabin.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 12:23:13 +0000
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <200301021223.13575.miles@milessabin.com>

Sandro Hawke wrote,
> For me the clearest mental image is of a (virtual) location where
> information might or might not be present; like a bulletin board, or
> whiteboard, or a desk covered with papers.  The information present
> at the location may change over time, but the location itself
> persists. I sometimes call this the distinction between the "content"
> and the "container".  URIs are attached (in abstraction 33) to a
> container. (And the web client does not visit the location; it talks
> to a server agent who is or pretends to be at the location.  The
> server observes the information-content at the location and (when
> things go well) describes it to the client.  Sometimes the server
> modifies the information content on behalf of the client.)

I'm comfortable with that model in _some_ but not all instances (ie. 
when the resource really _is_ something like a bulletin board). But it 
doesn't seem (to me, anyhow) to work very well for the web interface 
that I have to the printer a few feet away from me. When I use that 
interface I'm primarily interested in manipulating the _printer_ not 
some store of information about it. That's true even if I manipulate 
the printer in part _by_ manipulating an information store.

As such, I can't see anything objectionable in thinking of at least some 
of the most important the HTTP URIs associated with the interface as 
identifying the printer, or functions or properties of the printer, or 
operations on the printer. None of those things are in any obvious 
sense information stores (or, pace RF, concepts). But that's not to say 
that information isn't there too, and if it's identified at all it'll 
typically share URIs with the things it's information about, which is 
only problematic in the absence of disambiguating context.

And TBH I don't think your model helps you out all that much either. I'd 
imagine you'd want to be able to make distinct assertions about 
printers and about information about printers ... eg. that the printer 
is out of paper vs. some printer information store is logically 
consistent. Conflating the two subjects here would just be a category 
mistake: information stores don't run out of paper, and printers aren't  
logically (in)consistent. Trying to equate a printer with an 
information store is just another form of use-mention confusion ... in 
this case between a thing and information about it, rather than between 
a thing and one of its names.


Received on Thursday, 2 January 2003 07:23:45 UTC

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