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URI aliases: suggested text for webarch 2.3.1

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 12:06:19 -0700
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <5CF1B256-EB00-11D8-8B5A-000393753936@gbiv.com>

[URI aliases, 2.3.1]

URI aliases are harmful when they cause bifurcation in the web
of related resources.  A corollary of Metcalfe's Principle
(the "Network Effect") is that the value of a given resource
can be measured by the number and value of other resources
that link to it (the network neighborhood of the measured resource).
This type of valuation is commonly used to rank the relative
value of search results (e.g., Google) because people tend to
create links relating a given topic to those resources that
they feel best reflect that topic, and hence the number of
inbound references are a reflection of the degree to which
the community values a resource.  The problem with aliases is
that if half of the neighborhood points to one URI for a given
resource, and the other half points to a second, different URI
for that same resource, the neighborhood graph splits (bifurcates).
The aliased resource is not the only one undervalued because
of this split: the entire neighborhood of resources become
undervalued due to the missing second-order relationships that
should have existed among the referring resources by virtue of
their references to the aliased resource.

[note, aliases are also in 2.2 for some reason unknown]

Received on Tuesday, 10 August 2004 19:06:21 UTC

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