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Re: [Fwd: RE: "information resource"]

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 23:10:56 -0400
To: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <20041016031056.GM3204@markbaker.ca>

On Fri, Oct 15, 2004 at 02:27:35AM -0400, Harry Halpin wrote:
> If you have my medical record and take it from a piece of
> paper and put in into some database, then general an XML file from that 
> database that flies across the Web, that XML file is *my medical record*
> in the same sense that the original paper version is and not *a 
> representation of my medical record*. In fact, the word *representation
> of my medical record* doesn't even make much sense, does it?  

I believe it does.  If you subsequently (to the above taking place) paid
a visit to your doctor and she wrote a note in your record, the XML
document wouldn't be updated.  This is because the data crossed a trust
boundary when it was translated into XML, just as it would if you made a
photocopy of it.  Therefore it's not your medical record, but just a
representation of it at some point in time.

Consider that if I'm provided two URIs, one which identifies "an XML
representation of my medical record at time T" (where T is fixed) and
the other which identifies "an XML representation of my current medical
record", then if I invoke GET on each at time T, I get two equivalent
representations back.

I suggest that what makes those two resources different is an "essential
characteristic", and because it isn't reflected in the messages, then,
depending how you look at it, either neither of those resources are
"information resources", or just one of them is (take your pick).  But
both cannot be.

I continue to maintain that "information resource" is a pointless

Hmm, I bet there's a far shorter way of saying all that, like in a
sentence or two, but it's not coming to me.  Sorry.

Mark Baker.   Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.        http://www.markbaker.ca
Received on Saturday, 16 October 2004 03:09:05 UTC

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