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Re: Information resources?

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2004 13:12:54 -0400
Message-Id: <528C10AA-01BA-11D9-97AE-000A9580D8C0@w3.org>
To: 'www-tag@w3.org' <www-tag@w3.org>

In http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2004Sep/0028.html Tim 
Bray said,


> On Sep 7, 2004, at 7:17 AM, Norman Walsh wrote:
>
> > The notion of "resources" and "information resources" is, from my
> > perspective, a compromise designed to allow two world views to 
> achieve
> > consensus.
>
> I think the distinction is useful and worth talking about in webarch,
> because it's something that people feel is real.  Obviously the
> condition of being an information resource is something you can only
> test by attempting to dereference, but there's clearly a distinction
> between something that you normally expect to be there and if it's not
> you assume breakage, and something that you've never seen and if you
> get a 404 you say "Oh well, just a name I guess".  So at some level,
> being an information resource is a *social* condition, a matter of
> expectations and behaviors.

This is not the definition of an Information Resource I use.

Information resources are the sort fo things which convey information.  
You can bicker about the edges but...

  here are some things which are information resources

A picture
A poem
An email message
A document
A web page
A movie
A mail message
The book "Moby Dick"
The Declaration of Independence of the USA

Here are some things which I do not think of as information resources:

A dog
A person
The concept of parenthood
The USA
The W3C
Cornflower blue

Here are some properties which some IRs typically have

Subject  (although this may not be well defined)
Creator
Creation time
Translation into French
Digital encoding in PNG

Information Resources are a major part of the Web architecture that not 
to have a word for them.

The fact that a  given information resource, identified by some URI, 
may at some times be accessible and at other times not, doesn't change 
the nature of the information resource.

The HTTP spec didn't need to distinguish between dogs and pictures of 
dogs, as HTTP doesn't deal in the difference.  Humans can cope with 
ambiguity of this sort.  But the architecture document has to, in my 
opinion, be able to distinguish between them.


Tim BL
Received on Wednesday, 8 September 2004 17:12:57 GMT

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