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RE: "information resource"

From: <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2004 20:42:10 +0300
Message-ID: <1E4A0AC134884349A21955574A90A7A50ADCAA@trebe051.ntc.nokia.com>
To: <timbl@w3.org>
Cc: <www-tag@w3.org>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ext Tim Berners-Lee [mailto:timbl@w3.org]
> Sent: 01 September, 2004 20:18
> To: Stickler Patrick (Nokia-TP-MSW/Tampere)
> Cc: www-tag@w3.org
> Subject: Re: "information resource"
> Hash: SHA1
> On Sep 1, 2004, at 7:42, <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.
> >
> > 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.
> Actually, the document uses the term "representation" only for the 
> relationship between an information resource and its Representation.
> If there is a dog, a picture of the dog, and a representation 
> (bits and 
> metadata) of the picture, then the document would say that the dog is 
> the subject of the picture, that the picture has a representation in 
> the (bits + metadata).

Well, in my example the URI denotes the *dog*. Not a picture of the dog. 
And a dog, I'm quite sure, is an acceptable resource to be denoted by
a URI. And the document says (whether it is intended to or not) that if 
there are representations of that resource (the dog)accessible via
that URI, then that resource (the dog) is an "information resource".

If that's not what the document was meant to say, then my comments
about the definition of this term being potentially confusing are 
obviously valid.

> The document makes the distinction between a dog and the picture 
> because it needs to (especially later on for semantic web 
> things) even 
> though the HTTP spec doesn't really need to.

I did not find any such distinction in the document (relevant to
the definition of an "information resource"). Can you provide
a pointer. Perhaps I missed it.

> So, in the terms of the document, only information resources have 
> representations.
> There was a lot of confusion, expressed in last call comments, before 
> this distinction was introduced.  

I appreciate that fact, and I appreciate that the introduction of 
this term was an attempt to clarify key issues. I simply don't
see that it succeeds. 

> An information resource is 
> something 
> like a picture, text message, or poem, which conveys information.

This very comment about what an "information resource" can be
(a picture, a text message, etc.) directly reinforces my assertion
that the term will foster confusion, as this is *precisely* the
meaning that I saw lurking in the shadows, suggested by the linguistic
baggage of the word 'information', but IMO is not part of the actual 

According to the document's definition, *any* resource can be an
"information resource" if there exist web accessible representations.
You seem to be disagreeing here with that very definition by positing
that only certain kinds of resources can be "information resources"
(which I understand to actually mean that only certain kinds of 
resources can have representations). I must be misunderstanding you, 
because I find such an assertion quite surprising and not at all supported 
(per my understanding at least) by the document in question.



> Tim BL
> Version: GnuPG v1.2.4 (Darwin)
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Received on Wednesday, 1 September 2004 17:42:21 UTC

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