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Re: Fwd: backronym proposal: Universal Resource Linker

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 16:05:35 +0200
Message-ID: <k2oeb19f3361004180705p1400121bx106ec038d71be389@mail.gmail.com>
To: nathan@webr3.org
Cc: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, public-lod <public-lod@w3.org>
On Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 3:42 PM, Nathan <nathan@webr3.org> wrote:
> Wonder what would happen if we just called them "Links"?

I think that would confuse people. And would put stress just on the
point where SemWeb and HTML notions of link diverge.

An HTML page can have two (hyper-)links, <a href="/contactus/">contact
us</a> in the header, and <a href="/contactus/">contacts</a> in the
footer. Each of those chunks of markup is what we informally call a
link; the relative URI reference inside the href attribute in both
cases is what makes it possible for the link to be useful. I'm saying
that http://example.com/contactus/ should be called a 'universal
resource linker' instead of 'uniform resource locator'. Using
'universal resource link' for that instead has a different grammatical
role and could confuse since the page has two links (the bits that go
blue in your browser usually), but they both point to the same

> Seems to be pretty unambiguous, if I say "Link" to TimBL or my Mum they
> both know what I mean, and it appears to produce the desired mental
> picture when used.

There are two usages at least with link; 'pass me the link' versus
'click on the link'; the latter emphasises the occurance as being the

> Link, short for HyperLink - Link as in Linked Data.
> Keep the URI/URL/IRI for those who need to know the exact syntax of a Link.

So when the RDF perspective comes in, so do subtly different notions
of link. This is why I think framing 'link' as a countable thing will
lead to confusion. RDF links are a bit like relationships; so <a
href="http://bob.example.com/" rel="xfn:coworker xfn:buddy">Bob</a> is
a link expressing two relationships, er, links. If you poke to hard at
the magic word "link" it kinda crumbles a bit. But it remains
incredible evocative and at the heart of both the Web and the SemWeb.
Linker is non-commital enough that allows a family of related
readings; where the markup describes a pre-existing link/relationship
(eg. co-worker), and where markup itself is the link we're interested

If you check back to Timbl's original diagram in
http://www.w3.org/History/1989/proposal.html the different flavours of
'link' were in there from the start; 'wrote' and 'refers to' for
example; the former links a person to a document; the later connects
documents. So the linking story here is that identifiers for people
and documents can share a notation, and become linkable. What exactly
a link is, on the other hand, I think will always be a little bit


Received on Sunday, 18 April 2010 14:06:09 UTC

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