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WD-webarch-20031209: Assigning URIs to resources others will expect to refer to

From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@acm.org>
Date: 05 Mar 2004 00:17:04 +0100
To: W3C TAG mailing list <public-webarch-comments@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1078442224.2571.24.camel@localhost>

Section 2, Principle: URI assignment says: "A resource owner SHOULD
assign a URI to each resource that others will expect to refer to."

In order to comply with this principle, it seems to be necessary for
resource owners to know what resources they own, or (equivalently) to
know, of each thing they own, whether it is a resource or not.  It
doesn't seem plausible to expect compliance with this principle if
"resource" is not defined more informatively than it is defined in
this document.  

It may also be noted in passing that this principle also requires that
resource owners predict what other actors will expect; it would be
nice if the principle could be reformulated without requiring owners
to perform such predictions.

Note also that if resources can be any "items of interest" (as stated
by section 1), it may be impossible for a resource owner to provide
URIs for every resource which may be an item of interest.  If there is
an owner of the real numbers, for example, that owner cannot comply
with the principle enunciated here.  If anyone owns an infinite set of
items of interest, and if sets of such items are thought to be
themselves potential items of interest, then that owner cannot, in
principle, provide URIs for all items of interest: the power set of an
enumerably infinite set is not enumerable, and neither URIs nor any
other finite names can be provided for all the members of a
non-enumerable set.

I wonder if some slightly less demanding principle ought to be
Received on Thursday, 4 March 2004 18:17:55 UTC

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