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RE: SemWeb Non-Starter -- Distributed URI Discovery

From: Joshua Allen <joshuaa@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 15:35:40 -0800
Message-ID: <0E36FD96D96FCA4AA8E8F2D199320E52048E4BD2@RED-MSG-43.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To: "Stephen Rhoads" <rhoadsnyc@mac.com>, <semantic-web@w3.org>, <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>

I actually think there is no difference either way.  Just because URL
has a hash does not mean it is HTTP retrievable, or that the hash points
to an anchor that is an RDF description.  In fact, I bet the vast
majority of URLs with hashes do *not* contain RDF descriptions at the

By the same token, it is perfectly plausible for a slash URL to return
an RDF description of the resource.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-rdf-interest-request@w3.org [mailto:www-rdf-interest-
> request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Stephen Rhoads
> Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 2:50 PM
> To: semantic-web@w3.org; www-rdf-interest@w3.org
> Subject: SemWeb Non-Starter -- Distributed URI Discovery
> Until today, I considered myself to be squarely in the "slash" camp in
> hash/slash debate.  Then something occurred to me which has got me all
> upset because it has serious implications for my project [1] -- which
> inherently distributed in nature.
> As far as I can tell, there is no formal, generalized mechanism to
> reliably query the owner of a URI in order to obtain an RDF
Description of
> that URI.  And this is a serious impediment to the Semantic Web.
> "hashing" at least gets you part of the way because -- given an HTTP
> containing a hash and frag ID -- it is *likely* that one can
> the URI into a document containing (amongst other things) an RDF
> description of the URI in question.
> For example, if I encounter the URI
> http://www.somemediacompany.com/rdfdata/music/classical#resource
> chances are I can dereference
> "http://www.somemediacompany.com/rdfdata/music/classical" and find
> that document an RDF description of "#resource".
> If, one the other hand, I encounter
> http://www.somemediacompany.com/rdfdata/music/classical/resource
> then I can't make any assumptions about whether or not this URI refers
> some sort of document containing an RDF description of "resource".
> URI owner may just have chosen to mint URIs using some logical
> So, given an arbitrary URI, how can I obtain an RDF Description of
> URI?
> I suppose I could crawl the domain "containing" the URI with a spider
> harvest RDF data until I find the description I'm looking for, but
> a bit of a mess.  And it certainly doesn't scale.
> I read up a bit on SPARQL -- particularly the "SPARQL Protocol for
RDF" --
> and, unless I'm misunderstanding, it seems to be the intended long
> solution to the problem described herein.  Is that correct?  Is it
> expected that URI owner/minters will operate some sort of SPARQL
> for providing RDF Descriptions of their URIs?  Will there be some
> convention as to the location of these servers such that one can
> *reliably* and automatically query for an RDF Description of a URI?
> Have I framed this problem correctly?  Are there solutions or angles
> I have missed?  Input would be greatly appreciated.
> --- Stephen
> [1] http://www.dmmp.org (Digital Media Metadata Project)
Received on Friday, 18 March 2005 23:36:19 UTC

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