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Approved TAG finding: Authoritative Metadata

From: Vincent Quint <Vincent.Quint@inrialpes.fr>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 16:55:40 +0200
To: public-tag-announce@w3.org, www-tag@w3.org, w3c-ac-members@w3.org
Cc: Vincent.Quint@inrialpes.fr
Message-Id: <20060412165540.437c4893.Vincent.Quint@inrialpes.fr>


The W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG) has approved yesterday the finding
Authoritative Metadata:


This is an update to the previously approved finding of 25 February 2004.
Additional TAG findings, both approved and in draft state, are also available at



In Web architecture, communication between agents consists of exchanging messages
with predefined syntax and semantics: a shared expectation of how each message's
control data and payload (representation data and metadata) will be interpreted by the
recipient. When supported by the communication protocol, the Web architecture uses
representation metadata to indicate the sender's intentions regarding how the recipient
should interpret the representation data. For example, HTTP and MIME use the value\
of the "Content-Type" header field to indicate the Internet media type of the representation,
which influences the dispatching of handlers and security-related decisions made by
recipients of the message. In this finding, we review the architectural design choice that
metadata provided in an encapsulating container, such as the metadata provided in the
header fields of a received message, be considered authoritative. We examine why
recipient behavior that fails to respect authoritative metadata can be harmful and under
what conditions such behavior is allowed. Finally, we consider how specification authors
and implementers should incorporate these design constraints into their work.

Vincent Quint                       INRIA Rhône-Alpes
INRIA                               ZIRST
e-mail: Vincent.Quint@inria.fr      655 avenue de l'Europe
Tel.: +33 4 76 61 53 62             Montbonnot
Fax:  +33 4 76 61 52 07             38334 Saint Ismier Cedex
Received on Wednesday, 12 April 2006 15:44:00 UTC

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