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Using URIs to identify non-information resources

From: Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) <dbooth@hp.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 10:17:31 -0400
Message-ID: <A5EEF5A4F0F0FD4DBA33093A0B07559004209C38@tayexc18.americas.cpqcorp.net>
To: <public-swbp-wg@w3.org>
Cc: <Sandro@w3.org>

How about using an http site such as thing-described-by.org to do 303
redirects?

If I have a URI for a Web page that describes myself, such as
	http://dbooth.org/2005/dbooth/
then
	http://thing-defined-by.org?http://dbooth.org/2005/dbooth/
could be a URI that identifies me, and the thing-defined-by.org server
would do a 303-redirect to http://dbooth.org/2005/dbooth/ .

It seems to me this would have several advantages:
	- The URI for me always has the same meaning, regardless of the 
	  MIME type returned by http://dbooth.org/2005/dbooth/ .
	- I would not have to set up my server to return a 303, because
	  the thing-described-by.org site would do it for mt.
	- I would not have to pre-register
http://dbooth.org/2005/dbooth/ with
	  the thing-described-by.org site.
	- Since thing-described-by.org would *always* return 303
redirects, there
	  would be no need for software to do an HTTP access to it.
Software
	  could skip the extra HTTP request to thing-described-by.org
and
	  access http://dbooth.org/2005/dbooth/ directly.

This idea is similar in concept to the "*" operator proposed by Sandro
Hawke and Eric P, or the tdb: URI scheme proposed by Larry Masinter, but
does not require any change to RDF nor a new URI scheme.

What do others think of this idea?

BACKGROUND
The TAG's 303 redirect solution for permitting http URIs to identify
non-information resources seems inadequate to me because:

	- Authors don't always have control over their Web servers, to
be 
	  able to return 303.
	- It makes the *absence* of a document be significant, which
seems 
	  counter-intuitive and error prone.
	- Creating and maintaining an additional URI just to return a
303 
	  seems unnecessarily troublesome.
	- The relationship between the concept URI and the defining
document URI
	  can only be determined by a successful HTTP access, and a 303
result
	  is not even cacheable, thus placing a 

And of course, the use of hash URIs (http://example.org/ont#DansCar) to
identify non-information sources also seems inadequate to me because its
meaning is dependent on the returned MIME type.

David Booth, Ph.D.
HP Software
dbooth@hp.com
Phone: +1 617 629 8881
 
Received on Monday, 11 July 2005 14:17:38 UTC

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