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RE: "information resource"

From: <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2004 16:35:05 +0300
Message-ID: <1E4A0AC134884349A21955574A90A7A50ADCA7@trebe051.ntc.nokia.com>
To: <michael@neonym.net>
Cc: <www-tag@w3.org>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ext Michael Mealling [mailto:michael@neonym.net]
> Sent: 01 September, 2004 16:15
> To: Stickler Patrick (Nokia-TP-MSW/Tampere)
> Cc: www-tag@w3.org
> Subject: Re: "information resource"
> On Wed, 2004-09-01 at 07:42, Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com wrote:
> > Regarding the August 16 version of "Architecture of the 
> World Wide Web"
> > 
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-webarch-20040816/#dereference-uri
> > 
> > In section 3.1 it states:
> > 
> > "The term Information Resource refers to resources that 
> convey information.
> >  Any resource that has a representation is an information resource."
> > 
> > While I understand the desire to introduce a term which 
> enables people
> > to speak directly about resources which are web-accessible, 
> it seems to
> > me that this particular term will provide more confusion 
> than utility.
> 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".
> > 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.

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

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

> > 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

(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)

> > 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...


Received on Wednesday, 1 September 2004 16:44:28 UTC

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