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RE: Very rough draft of TAG finding on self-describing documents

From: Williams, Stuart \(HP Labs, Bristol\) <skw@hp.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 14:28:52 -0000
Message-ID: <C4B3FB61F7970A4391A5C10BAA1C3F0D74D261@sdcexc04.emea.cpqcorp.net>
To: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Cc: "TAG mailing list" <www-tag@w3.org>

Hello Noah,

I was just going to make a similar point to Wang, but differently.

It had occurred to me that in webarch we had spoken carefully of
resources and representations. Documents on the other hand is a tricky
word, because it has both a resource-ful sense and represntational
sense. Thus, in speaking of self describing documents it is not clear if
we are writing about resources or representations. As the document (pun
intended) unfolds it does become apparent that it is about
selfDescription in representations.

SelfDescription wrt to resources is also interesting... eg. for a term
in an ontology, eg. dc:title (ie. http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/title)
there is some expectation that dereferencing the term's URI will yield a
representation that includes a description of the term itself (which
modulo redirections is what happens in this case). 

Even simple web pages may contain an element of self description in
their narrative... and with RDFa could well contain some useful machine
processable self description (of the resource).

Cheers,

Stuart
--

> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-tag-request@w3.org [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org] 
> On Behalf Of noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com
> Sent: 26 February 2007 23:40
> To: Xiaoshu Wang
> Cc: www-tag@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Very rough draft of TAG finding on 
> self-describing documents
> 
> 
> Xiaoshu Wang writes:
> 
> > I wonder what is the definition of "self" in the self-describing 
> > document?  An XML document would not be "self-describing" 
> without the 
> > MIME type being transferred.
> 
> Thank you for this comment.  I will consider it more 
> carefully if the TAG decides to move forward with this 
> finding.  I think the short answer is that you are right to 
> point out that one indeed cannot usually infer the intended 
> interpretation of a document (I.e. the standards or 
> specifications that the author was using when creating the 
> document) without some external hints as a bootstrap.  If I 
> give you just a bit stream, for example, you may notice that 
> it happens to be the UTF-8 encoding of some well formed XML 
> document, but there's always the change that this is true 
> only accidently.  Maybe or maybe not we should rename the 
> finding and or the issue to something like "The Importance of 
> Self-Describing Web Representations".  Thank you again for 
> your comment.
> 
> Noah
> 
> --------------------------------------
> Noah Mendelsohn
> IBM Corporation
> One Rogers Street
> Cambridge, MA 02142
> 1-617-693-4036
> --------------------------------------
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Xiaoshu Wang <wangxiao@musc.edu>
> 02/26/2007 05:17 PM
>  
>         To:     noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com
>         cc:     www-tag@w3.org
>         Subject:        Re: Very rough draft of TAG finding on 
> self-describing documents
> 
> 
> I wonder what is the definition of "self" in the self-describing 
> document?  An XML document would not be "self-describing" without the 
> MIME type being transferred.
> 
> Also, a resource is defined by having a URI.  Then, the 
> interpretation 
> of a resource can certainly be written in a different 
> document under the 
> same URI by way of content negotiation.  For instance, the 
> RDF document 
> of URI can be used to offer  the interpretation of a binary 
> stream under 
> the same URI.  Would this be called self-describing?
> 
> Xiaoshu
> 
> 
> 
> 
Received on Thursday, 1 March 2007 14:29:15 GMT

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