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RE: "information resource"

From: Michael Mealling <michael@neonym.net>
Date: Wed, 01 Sep 2004 09:55:04 -0400
To: Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <1094046903.6394.230.camel@blackdell.neonym.net>

On Wed, 2004-09-01 at 09:35, Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com wrote:
> > It is incumbent on others to use the term as defined by the document,
> > not by how they think they would define it or what they think those
> > particular words might mean. Just because it might cause someone some
> > discomfort doesn't mean its wrong or badly named.
> 
> Hmmm... I'm not encouraged at all by the tone of this response.
> 
> Seems to me that any term which would cause confusion, particularly
> in a document intended to reduce confusion, is not "a good thing".

Agreed. But at some point you have to tell the minority that are still
uncomfortable with it to stop trying to parse the words and just go with
the definition itself. You'll never make everyone happy with the terms
you use. I personally don't like the way you're describing things below.
But that doesn't mean I have to adopt them. I just have to know you
think that way so I can differentiate it from the way I do things.

> > > Since *any* resource *can* (potentially) have a representation, the
> > > membership of the class of "information resources" is a 
> > reflection of
> > > the management, over time, of those resources, not any intrinsic 
> > > characteristic of the resources themselves.
> > > 
> > > I may have a dog, which is denoted by a URI, and if I 
> > choose to publish
> > > representations of that dog via that URI, that in no way changes the
> > > nature of that dog. And I have a hard time thinking of that dog as
> > > an "information resource", just because someone can dereference its
> > > URI to get some representation of the dog.
> > 
> > Better get used to it because every physical instance of every product
> > in the world is about to get a URI. That box of Gillette 
> > razors is going
> > to have a URI that denotes that exact physical thing. Dogs 
> > are going to
> > have RFID chips embedded in them and there are standards for encoding
> > the binary identifier in that RFID chip as a URN and the 
> > exact intent is  that this URN denotes that particular dog. It is an
> > information resource. It produces information. There are network layer
> > methods for transferring the information produced by that dog from
> > the physical world to the electronic (the concept of a boundary between
> > the two becoming more and more useless every day).
> 
> I'm sorry, but I don't find these arguments convincing.

They're not predicated on being convincing to you.

> Just because there might be an information infrastructure
> which may provide information *about* certain resources
> in the form of representations does not make those resources
> "information producing".

The distinctions you make between whether or not something is actually
producing the information directly or via some network translation proxy
is arbitrary and is becoming meaningless in reality. Active RFID chips
are putting measurement and physical item state as active network
resources. 

> The definition of the term in AWWW and your description
> above feels strained, perhaps from focusing on this stuff too
> closely for too long.

No. This has been the exact and clear intent since 1992 and only a very
very few people seem to get tripped up over it....

> I expect the "average Joe" coming cold to AWWW and to the
> Web and Semantic Web will end up being confused by the
> term.

So far I've only run across about 4 people that are confused by it....

> > > Likewise, membership in this class of "information resources" will
> > > be transient. At one time, there may be a URI denoted resource that
> > > has no representation. Then it does, at which time it becomes an
> > > "information resource". Later, the representations are no longer
> > > accessible, at which time it ceases to be an "information resource";
> > > insofar as the definition provided is concerned.
> > 
> > It ceases to be an information resource from your 
> > perspective. Based on
> > policies associated with the identifier (be they from the scheme used,
> > communicated to you through previous interactions, etc) you 
> > may be able
> > to expect that it a) may become an information resource again 
> > and b) may
> > still be an information resource to someone else but right 
> > now you can't
> > prove that it is one.
> 
> Right. So again, we're really talking about the "management state"
> of representations accessible via that URI, not the denoted resource
> itself.

The distinction is not up to you to make. You don't have authority over
the URI.....

> (this is Pat's C vs D issue, of course, such that, for all "information
> resources" one could take a C perspective or a D perspective, but
> for non-information resources, one could only take a D perspective, 
> yet in the context of web-accessible resources, the C vs D confusion
> remains; this term does not actually resolve that confusion)

You'll have to give me a reference. That wasn't sufficient to make it
clear what the confusion was....

> > > I expect that most folks will percieve membership in the class of
> > > "information resources" to reflect an intrisic characteristic of
> > > the resource itself, rather than simply a condition of its 
> > management
> > > (or management of representations of that resource, depending on 
> > > how you look at it).
> > 
> > This is the first time I've heard of anyone making that kind of
> > distinction....
> 
> I would hope that you would not presume that just because you've
> not heard it before, that it has no merit...

No. Just that its held by a minority...

-MM
Received on Wednesday, 1 September 2004 13:56:06 GMT

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