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Re: Comments solicited: "Providing and discovering definitions of URIs"

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 12:44:55 -0400
Message-ID: <CACHXnarHDFo2tHoArbBJ7a4wpoiWnMV6iaRjimuBuXc3vEnVAg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Cc: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 3:59 AM, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com> wrote:
> (stuck in my drafts folder)

Thanks for taking a look!

> " The specification governing Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) [rfc3986] allows URIs to mean anything at all"
> can be read incorrectly. A spec usually "allows" something by enabling it, providing a mechanism for accomplishing it.
> of RFC 3986 does not itself enable or provide a mechanism for URIs to "mean anything at all", it just doesn't make restrictions that disallow that. ("tdb:" provides a mechanism, for example.)
>
> I’m not sure what to do with this. Maybe just "allows a URI to mean anything at all, or at least does not restrict the meaning".

Agree entirely. I think the thing to do is probably to just quote
3986, which is as close to uncontroversial as one gets in this space.

> "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."
>
> I don't agree with the order of (a) and (b). I think the order is more like (b) then (a), where (b) is "providing information which might be identified via a URI" and (a) is "putting together the URI which has the definition that leads to the meaning intended".

I think that in practice (a) and (b) are done at the same time.
Current practice (in linked data, which is the only community doing
this kind of thing at present) always includes the URI in the
description, so if you did (b) first the description would have to
contain a variable i.e. hole or wild card.

Not sure how to say this. Most of the simplifications I've heard to
the definition/description story are wrong, and even what I've written
doesn't capture properly the situation where a single file can contain
"definitions" of multiple URIs (or descriptions of many things, if you
prefer), meaning that the particular definition/description that's
applicable, among the bunch, to a given URI, is picked out from the
set by by being the one that uses that URI. But I'll work on it.

Jonathan

> Larry
> --
> http://larry.masinter.net
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-tag-request@w3.org [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Jonathan Rees
> Sent: Saturday, June 25, 2011 9:13 AM
> To: www-tag@w3.org
> Subject: Comments solicited: "Providing and discovering definitions of URIs"
>
> 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, 5 November 2011 16:45:34 GMT

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