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Re: Terminology Question concerning Web Architecture and Linked Data

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 00:25:15 -0400
To: "John Black" <JohnBlack@kashori.com>
Cc: "Sandro Hawke" <sandro@w3.org>, "'Linking Open Data'" <linking-open-data@simile.mit.edu>, "SW-forum" <semantic-web@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <6372.1185510315@ubuhebe>


> And that makes is far less crisp, I'm afraid.

Yes, sad, isn't it?    For a minute there, it did seem nicely crisp.

> Sorry, but I still find this incomprehensible, that the text of a book is 
> not an information resource, but if that same text is encoded in a computer 
> file on a web server, it now somehow becomes an information resource. Or 
> what I found just as surprising was when Tim said, "...a literal string is 
> not an information resource." [2] about a text string in a static web page 
> served by a web server, here http://kashori.com/ontology/MyURI. Honestly, 
> I'm not debating here, I just don't get it.

I hear you.   Sometimes I think I can kind of make sense of it; sometimes
not.  It's hard to come up with a simple and coherent model for a very
messy and complex system....    (the real, deployed web is complex
enough -- try to add the Semantic Web...?)

> > So, in this metaphor, a URI is something you hand a guide, and the guide
> > will show you the relevant spot on a wall.   If you give a URI for a
> > non-IR, then the best the guide can do is show you a spot on the wall
> > which talks about that non-IR.  (That is, it can do a 303.)
> 
> When used by an agent in the context of the semantic web, that URI is a 
> name, used to refer to a resource. Either I know what that agent is 
> referring to by that URI or I don't. If I know what the agent denotes by 
> that name (URI), then I don't need to be taken to the wall at all. Or if I 
> don't know what resource the agent refers to by that URI, then it won't help 
> to be put in front of a stream of representations, because the 
> representations are not the resource, and unless you know the nature of the 
> resource, you can't know whether the received representations reveal that 
> nature or not. And this is true both in the case of information or 
> non-information resources, because the essence of neither can be transmitted 
> over a network, as I argue above. In either case, information or 
> non-information, what I really want to hear is a definite description of the 
> resource and to be told that other agents do associate that description with 
> the name (URI) used.

Here, when we get close to what's actually happening, and can just talk
about Semantic Web / Linked Data use cases, I disagree with you.

Specifically (repeating) :
> Either I know what that agent is referring to by that URI or I don't.

That's human-talk, not machine talk.  Machine don't know what things
are; they just know logical statements about them.  [I happen to believe
that's true for humans as well, but we don't need to go there.]  So the
question isn't whether I know what an agent is referring to but what
logical statements I have (and believe) about the thing being referred
to.

The ability to go to the wall is the ability to (maybe) find out more
information (statements), probably about that thing, and things it's
related to.

> In either case, information or 
> non-information, what I really want to hear is a definite description of the 
> resource and to be told that other agents do associate that description with 
> the name (URI) used.

I'm not sure what a "definitive" description is.  All you get is some
statements.  They may be "definitive" in the sense that they were chosen
by the person who allocated the name.  I'm not sure that's very
definitive....

As for the association between URIs and retrieved content, you find that
out by doing a web retrieval....

> By the way, in the current scheme, where am I supposed to go for a good 
> description of, rather than the direct experience of, an information 
> resource?

There is no way to do that, with the current web.  All you can do is go
there and hope it tells you about itself.  Lots of human-readable
websites do.  Some RDF graphs do.

   -- Sandro

> > Along this more sophisticated model, one of my prefered terms (instead
> > of Information Resource) was "Response Point".     But this is all
> > pretty darn fuzzy, and a hard subject on which to reach consensus.
> >
> >   *        *         *
> >
> > Really, I think should probably just call them "web pages".   (I know
> > some people have some ideas about Information Resources which are not
> > Web Pages.  I'm not convinced.)
> >
> > So:
> >
> >        Information Resource == Web Page.
> >        Non-Information-Resource == Anything that's not a Web Page.
> >
> > (And while we're at it, call then "Web Addresses" not "URIs".)
> >
> > So, one of the funky Semantic Web ideas is to give Web Addresses (or
> > Pseudo-Web-Addresses) to things which are *not* Web Pages.  Huh?  This
> > sounds a little weird, especially if you try to call them real Web
> > Addresses, but via some tricks it kind of works.  It lets you talk about
> > things in a way where the listener can find out more information if they
> > want it.
> >
> > Humans are getting used to this with Google.  If I hear a term I don't
> > understand, I can often Google it faster than I can ask the speaker to
> > explain it.  Especially if it's in a written document.  (Of course,
> > Google just makes it faster and easier -- it's always been possible to
> > do research.)  Using URIs (pseudo-web-addresses) instead of search terms
> > has some advantages and some disadvantages; I think it's a good plan,
> > myself.
> >
> >    -- Sandro
> >
> 1. http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2007Jul/0112.html
> 2. http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/semantic-web/2007Jun/0265.html
> 
> John
> www.kashori.com
> 
> 
Received on Friday, 27 July 2007 04:26:43 GMT

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