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[Bug 8264] New: Fix terminology for "resource", "representation", "retrieval"

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 21:07:59 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-8264-2486@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>

           Summary: Fix terminology for  "resource", "representation",
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: major
          Priority: P1
         Component: HTML5 spec proposals
        AssignedTo: dave.null@w3.org
        ReportedBy: masinter@adobe.com
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: ian@hixie.ch, mike@w3.org, public-html@w3.org

To understand the web, a reader will need to be familiar with other documents
which establish terminology that this specification disagrees with. The
documents describing URIs and HTTP are not just "authoritative documents", 
they're the actual documents that are also necessary to read and understand how
the web works. Defining and using different and inconsistent terminology is
very confusing, and leads to the specification being unclear about essential
processes. The result is also at odds with reality (since some resources have
no representation and content-negotiated resources may have many). 

 RFC 3986 section 1.2.2 gives an overview of the relationship between
"resource" and "representation" as well as "retrieval".

   When URIs are used within information retrieval systems to identify
   sources of information, the most common form of URI dereference is
   "retrieval": making use of a URI in order to retrieve a
   representation of its associated resource.  A "representation" is a
   sequence of octets, along with representation metadata describing
   those octets, that constitutes a record of the state of the resource
   at the time when the representation is generated.  Retrieval is
   achieved by a process that might include using the URI as a cache key
   to check for a locally cached representation, resolution of the URI
   to determine an appropriate access mechanism (if any), and
   dereference of the URI for the sake of applying a retrieval
   operation.  Depending on the protocols used to perform the retrieval,
   additional information might be supplied about the resource (resource
   metadata) and its relation to other resources.

This terminology is used and expanded in


The editorial changes are, unfortunately, extensive, and will require looking
at every use of "resource" and "file", as well as "fetch" and "fetching". 

To start with section 2.1, "resources", change this to reference RFC 3986 and
define "resources, representations, and retrieval". 

Align the definitions with the HTTP specification.

(there are other definitions which also need alignment, including MIME type,
content type; do those need separate bug reports?)

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Received on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 21:08:08 UTC

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