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Comments solicited: "Providing and discovering definitions of URIs"

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2011 16:12:40 +0000
Message-ID: <BANLkTim-_c1ARMt+OUD14fGNSVH0w+hung@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-tag@w3.org
Comments solicited: "Providing and discovering definitions of URIs"

(message being sent to www-tag, bcc: public-lod and semantic-web)

As most of you know, the 9-year-old "httpRange-14" turf war is an
annoyance and embarrassment in efforts to develop RDF, linked data,
the Semantic Web, and Web architecture.

As a step toward getting closure I've prepared a document (with
the help of the TAG and the AWWSW task group):

  http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/awwsw/issue57/20110625/

which attempts to record the variety of approaches that have been
offered.  I have attempted to record in a neutral way all the main
proposals that have been put forth and present them in a way that
permits them to be compared.  I'm sure I have failed to be completely
neutral, but if so I'm confident you will tell me.

How to actually get closure is yet to be determined, but a first step
might be to get all the relevant information collected in this
document so that we all know what the issues and opportunities are.

This document is for informational purposes only and its future is
not yet determined. I would have polished it a bit more but given
current debate on www-tag and public-lod I felt it was more important
to get it out than to tie up loose ends.

Please comment on the www-tag@w3.org list. I will revise the document
based on comments received.

If you wish to review the debate please see
  http://www.w3.org/wiki/HttpRange14Webography

Best
Jonathan

Abstract

The specification governing Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs)
[rfc3986] allows URIs to mean anything at all, and this unbounded
flexibility is exploited in a variety contexts, notably the Semantic
Web and Linked Data. To use a URI to mean something, an agent (a)
selects a URI, (b) provides a definition of the URI in a manner that
permits discovery by agents who encounter the URI, and (c) uses the
URI. Subsequently other agents may not only understand the URI (by
discovering and consulting the definition) but may also use the URI
themselves.

A few widely known methods are in use to help agents provide and
discover URI definitions, including RDF fragment identifier resolution
and the HTTP 303 redirect. Difficulties in using these methods have
led to a search for new methods that are easier to deploy, and perform
better, than the established ones. However, some of the proposed
methods introduce new problems, such as incompatible changes to the
way metadata is written. This report brings together in one place
information on current and proposed practices, with analysis of
benefits and shortcomings of each.

The purpose of this report is not to make recommendations but rather
to initiate a discussion that might lead to consensus on the use of
current and/or new methods.

(this is TAG ISSUE-57 / ACTION-579)
Received on Saturday, 25 June 2011 16:13:07 GMT

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