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Re: CURIEs: A proposal

From: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 19:27:48 -0700
Message-ID: <1cb725390606271927i47bc9970j3a38a35d3ab7abbe@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: "Harry Halpin" <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Wouldn't you say that if "you" (in the human or machine sense) create a URI
to name somethign then you must know SOMETHING about what you were trying to
name. If the thing you are naming is "HTML" then you know that "HTML" stands
for "Hypertext Markup Language". If the thing you are naming is a product,
then perhaps you know the MSRP.

On 6/27/06, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> wrote:
> What they mean is determined by the totality of assertions that are
> made using them, and there is no way to access all of that by any
> kind of dereferencing. The idea that a single URI can locate an
> 'authoritative' or 'defining' piece of (say) OWL or RDF which is the
> single best source for what the URI means, is unsupported by any of
> the SW specs, false in many widely deployed cases (FOAF, Dublin
> Core), at odds with the open nature of the Web, and IMO harmful.

The referent need not be authoritative or defining (though it often might
be). It is enough that it be informative.

Im sure it can often help, but a problem arises when someone insists
> that there *must* be something there, because there are going to be
> many cases where it is hard to impossible to provide anything useful,
> so what will be provided will in fact not be useful, but providing it
> will nevertheless absorb a lot of effort, the cost of which is a
> brake on development and deployment.

This is the heart of the argument. What examples do you have?

I could understand the argument that it is sometimes hard to provide
anything at all (because providing anything at all requires a web server).
But why would it be hard to provide something meanginful? Why did you create
a name for something about which you know NOTHING?

> >It helps  to make the Web be "self-describing", although the notion of
> >"self-describing" is something I think is another notion that could
> >really use some inspection.
> I'd sure like know what it means, myself :-)  Can you elaborate?

Self describing means that a reader can start by looking at some data and
follow links backwards to the specifications that define the intended
meaning of the data. With raw XML, the tags are "links" to English word
meanings which are much more helpful than bit patterns. With (for example)
HTTP-identified namespaces you have actual links to resources that might
describe the meanings of the words in a human or machine-processable

In short, a self-describing message or document points from the message
towards the spec whereas most messages or documents require you to find the
message or document using some out-of-band mechanism. "This file starts with
the characters MZ. I wonder what file type this is?"

 Paul Prescod
Received on Wednesday, 28 June 2006 02:27:56 UTC

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