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RE: Information resources?

From: <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2004 12:31:55 +0300
Message-ID: <1E4A0AC134884349A21955574A90A7A50ADCB4@trebe051.ntc.nokia.com>
To: <len.bullard@intergraph.com>, <sandro@w3.org>
Cc: <www-tag@w3.org>



> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-tag-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of
> ext Bullard, Claude L (Len)
> Sent: 08 September, 2004 23:38
> To: 'Sandro Hawke'
> Cc: www-tag@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Information resources? 
> 
> 
> 
> So after much discussion, we are back to the beginning, that is, 
> dereferencing a URI returns a document (aka, bits on the wire) 
> or doesn't?

Often, returning to the beginning can be useful, if not essential.

In this case, I think it highlights a truth that is often missed
or distorted in the attempts to abstract the web architecture
and syncronize it with the vision of the semantic web.

Namely, the web is all about interacting with representations.
Representations are binary streams of data. That's all the web does. 
Period.

While access to those binary streams is via URIs which denote
"resources" of which those binary streams are representations,
the web itself cannot actually provide any explicit information
or direct access to those actual resources.

Thus, just because one recieves a representation corresponding
to an HTML encoded presentation of some textual material, that 
does not allow one to conclude anything about the inherent nature
of the resource denoted by the URI via which that HTML was obtained.
One might guess, and one might guess correctly, but any such
speculation is *entirely* outside the scope of the web architecture.

The web doesn't really care about resources -- only about the
access to representations associated with those resources.

As soon as folks try to make the web architecture address the
nature of the actual resources, that's when the problems begin.

> Something of an anti-climax.

Well, I think that where AWWW errs is in trying to say anything
about the inherent nature of the resource denoted by a URI.

The actual denotation of a URI is outside the scope of the web
machinery. All the web can do is faciliate interaction with
representations (binary data) which are associated with resources
(whatever those resources might be, we can tell at the web level).

Humans can try to guess what a given URI denotes, based on the
representations obtained -- but one can *never* be sure.

Unless one proceeds to the semantic web level, where one can
obtain explicit statements about the resource in question, one
*cannot* know for sure if it corresponds to a body of information,
such as a web page, a poem, a novel, an image, etc. or whether
it is abstract, or concrete/physical, etc.

Here is where the web and semantic web compliment each other.

The semantic web allows us to say what a given URI denotes, and
describe the resource denoted. Whereas the web allows us to 
interact with representations of that resource, via the denoting
URI.

The problem with the term "information resource" in the latest
draft of AWWW is *not* with its definition, but with the linguistic
properties of the component words of the term itself -- and the
fact that many folks will read far more into what AWWW is saying
than it really is.

If "information resource" in AWWW was simply replaced with 
"web resource", then that would be much, much better.

Also adding some text to the effect of what I said above, that
the true denotation/nature of the resource denoted by a URI cannot
be determined via the web machinery itself, would be a very 
useful addition as well.

Regards,

Patrick

> 
> len
> 
> 
> From: www-tag-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of
> Sandro Hawke
> 
> > The way the document reads, an information resource is like a
> frbr:expression
> > and a representation is like a frbr:manifestation.  If that's what
> intended
> > then perhaps some references to those concepts would be 
> good instead of "a
> > thing that conveys information".  After all, President Bush conveys
> > information but you obviously would not call him an 
> information resource.
> > 
> > - Chris
> 
> That doesn't seem quite right.  A represention is bytes, not something
> physical, and I don't think a set of meteorological readings (which
> should be an InformationResource) would count as an frbr:expression.
> 
> I'm all for some better text, however, so I proposed some this
> afternoon.  [1].    I'll quote it here, since it seems rather
> relevant, and this is the better list of public discussion.
> 
> I believe my text is in line with what TimBL is saying in this thread,
> although I wrote it before reading his postings.
> 
>    An "Information Resource" is a collection of information
>    potentially transmittable via a computer network.  Digital forms of
>    creative works (such as documents and images) are Information
>    Resources, while certain conceptual entities (such as numbers and
>    RDF properties) are not.  This distinction is becoming useful as
>    people develop ways to use URIs to identify things which are not
>    Information Resources.
> 
> 
Received on Thursday, 9 September 2004 09:38:56 GMT

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