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RE: on documents and terms [was: RE: [WNET] new proposal WN URIs and related issues]

From: Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) <dbooth@hp.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 23:44:53 -0400
Message-ID: <EBBD956B8A9002479B0C9CE9FE14A6C20B92F1@tayexc19.americas.cpqcorp.net>
To: "Frank Manola" <fmanola@acm.org>, "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: <public-swbp-wg@w3.org>, "Guus Schreiber" <guus@few.vu.nl>, "Steve Pepper" <pepper@ontopia.net>, "Mark van Assem" <mark@cs.vu.nl>, "Ralph R. Swick" <swick@w3.org>

> From: Frank Manola
> >> From: David Booth
> >>>  From:  Pat Hayes
> >>>
> >>>  It might be best to start with a definition of what you 
> >>>  consider an  
> >>>  information resource to be. Since the TAG do not define this 
> >>>  critical  term, yet base important engineering decisions 
> >>>  on it, any  
> >>>  authoritative exposition would be of immense value. My current  
> >>>  understanding is that an information resource is some 
> >>>  thing that can  
> >>>  be transmitted over a network by a transfer protocol. On this  
> >>>  understanding, one could argue that a word was an information  
> >>>  resource.
> >>
> >> Definitely not.  That would be a "representation", not an 
> >> "information resource".  The information resource is the 
> >> *source* of "representations" that can be transmitted 
> >> over a network.
> 
> Sorry to butt in, but a couple of minor comments:
> 
> "Definitely not" may be technically correct, but I think a bit more 
> context is needed here.  The TAG Architecture document says:
> 
> "It is conventional on the hypertext Web to describe Web 
> pages, images, product catalogs, etc. as "resources". The 
> distinguishing characteristic of these resources is that 
> all of their essential characteristics can be 
> conveyed in a message. We identify this set as "information 
> resources."
> 
> This document is an example of an information resource. It 
> consists of words and punctuation symbols and graphics and other 
> artifacts that can be encoded, with varying degrees of 
> fidelity, into a sequence of bits. There is nothing about 
> the essential information content of this 
> document that cannot in principle be transfered in a message. 
> In the case of this document, the message payload is the 
> representation of this document."
> 
> So, referring to the next sentence, it would seem that an RDF 
> ontology and an HTML web page *are* information resources.  
> What gets transmitted over the wire, however, would be 
> representations of those information resources.  Right?

You're right.  I should have been clearer that it depends on what you
mean by "RDF ontology" or "HTML web page".  If you're referring to the
abstract document that may change over time then yes, it is an
information resource.  If you're referring to a particular instantiation
of that document that may be transmitted over the wire then no, it is a
representation.   Pat was
referring to something that could be transmitted over the wire.

An information resource cannot be transmitted over the wire.  It is an
abstraction.  Thus, I believe the WebArch sentence above that says: 

	"all of their essential characteristics can be conveyed 
	in a message" 

is slightly incorrect and should have said something like: 

	"all of their *current* essential characteristics can be 
	conveyed in a message"

because a representation only gives a snapshot of that information
resource at one particular moment, whereas the "information resource" is
the abstract source/set of those representations over time.

> 
> > 
> > Ah, I see. Thanks for that clarification. So for example an RDF 
> > ontology and an HTML web page are not information resources, 
> > either, I take it.
> 
> I also note that http://www.w3.org/TR/swbp-vocab-pub/ (under "URI 
> Namespaces") says:
> 
> "For small vocabularies, it may be most convenient to serve 
> the entire vocabulary in a single Web access. Such a vocabulary would 
> typically use a hash namespace, and a Web access (i.e., an HTTP GET 
> request) for any term in the vocabulary would return *a single 
> information resource* describing all of the terms in the vocabulary." 
> [my emphasis]
> 
> So this should be "would return *a representation of* a single 
> information resource describing all of the terms in the vocabulary" ?

Correct.  That should be fixed.

David Booth
Received on Monday, 24 April 2006 03:48:13 UTC

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