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How namespace names might be used

From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 15:29:13 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: xml-uri@w3.org
Namespace names either have URI syntax or are URIs.  Whichever is the case,
how might we envision them being used in an ideal future?  

Level 1 idea: use the URI to retrieve the semantic resource.  I think this
is more or less what TimBL and Dan are in favor of.  I'm on the record as
thinking that this approach is pretty limiting, mostly because I believe
that semantic resources come in lots of complex parts, including human-
readable documentation, RDF, schemas, Java classes, and lots of other
stuff that hasn't been invented yet.

Level 2 idea: use the URI to start down a retrieval trail.  This is the
idea, which I and others have talked up, of there being some sort of
universal related-resource-clustering vocabulary - the word "packaging"
has been used - if such a thing existed, and were conventionally placed
where a namespace name points, this might be a real step forward for

But... the more I think about the packaging idea, the more it seems
insufficiently flexible and general.  At the end of the day, it seems
like all the different kinds of related resources (stylesheets, type
definitions, procedural code, schemas) ought to somehow become active,
and respond to call-by-name.  I.e. there ought to be a way to broadcast
an appeal for stylesheets that can handle vocabularies named by 
http://a.b.com/ns37, or Java classes that can generate audio output
from vocabularies named http://a.b.com/ns39; this is a many-to-many
mapping we're talking about here, because a stylesheet resource could
probably "know about" a wide variety of vocabularies (e.g., DocBook
derivatives) that it's capable of handling.  

Are any of the existing Internet protocols a candidate for this 
kind of lookup-by-name?  I don't think content-negotiation goes nearly
far enough.  Pardon me for blue-skying it.  -Tim
Received on Saturday, 10 June 2000 18:29:22 UTC

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