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Re: Preparing for metadata architecture discussion at the F2F

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 15:05:49 -0400
Message-ID: <AANLkTinN9HdWJMA2F7cKHrsyiSq74hpQ8T7-ev_2okk7@mail.gmail.com>
To: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Cc: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 1:28 PM, Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com> wrote:
> A few n6tes 6n the attached.
>
>> 1. sadly, representations and metadata subjects do not generally have
>>     their own URIs,
>
>
> On purely architectural grounds, this always seemed a strange asymmetry to
> me, given that the general Web philosophy us: identify everything of
> interest with URIs.  I understand why in practice this might typically be
> overkill, but it's interesting to see it emerge as a shortcoming here too.

Of course you can use a URI to name whatever you want. I was not
making an architectural statement, just making an observation of fact.

Many http: URIs make perfectly good names for metadata subjects, as
there is credible institutional commitment to "representation"
stability. But these are the minority among http: URIs in the wild.

>> However, any metadata assertion (author, title, etc.) stated using a
>> URI should be approached with caution, as the metadata subject you
>> would see now might not be the one to which that metadata originally
>> applied.
>
> A few years ago I toyed with the thought there might be some way of
> explicitly indicating, probably in HTTP headers, representations that were
> guaranteed to be invariant for all time, in the sense that subsequent
> retrievals would in some well-specified ways be "the same" (though clearly
> not the same in all properties, such as "time of last retrieval").  Anyway,
> the idea of offering such an HTTP header seemed to land with a pretty big
> thud, so I won't pursue it unless there is new interest on the part of
> others.  I do think it makes the Web a bit more rigorously applicable in
> situations like this.

TimBL's genont ontology does something close to this, and the metadata
could easily be deployed using .well-known/host-meta and/or Link: -
deploying such metadata was exactly the subject of my blog post. The
question is whether there is a market. If there were, the interested
parties could without much difficulty get together and coordinate on a
standard, or a first mover could just pick a solution they liked. I
just don't think there's that much interest at present - the
information could be provided, but who would use it?

Jonathan
Received on Friday, 15 October 2010 19:06:30 GMT

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