Re: backronym proposal: Universal Resource Linker

Sorry, no.  You're 99.9% right here, but I don't see why you think we
need to change "Locator" to "Linker".  "Locator" is a perfectly correct
term.  It is a string which is used to locate things.  Locating things
is like identifying them, except that you can also (in some sense)
access them.  That's exactly how we use URLs.  My airline calls the key
they assign to reservations, in their communications with the public, a
"record locator".

I think people got thrown off for a while in the 90s, because URLs
appear to include host names, and hosts are peices of equipment.  So
they thought each URL pointed to a peice of equipment.  That's not true,
of course, and I think we're pretty much over that misconception now.

Also, trying to change from "Locator" or "Linker" would (aside from
being not helpful) introduce more of this stuff:
    > "URL? yeah kinda, you probably really ought to say URI but don't
    > worry, you nearly got it"

which you nail perfectly.  If we changed from "Locator" to "Linker" we'd
have people saying, in that same tone of voice and to the same confused
and hurt audience: "Oh, of course you mean UR *Linker* don't you".

      -- Sandro

> On Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 7:40 PM, Ian Davis <> wrote:
> > When talking to people who aren't semweb engineers then i use
> > URL/URI/link interchangeably. I don't think it matters because the 1%
> > that care will look it all up and get the distinction and the rest
> > will just get on and use RDF as shown.
> Yeah, I find myself slipping between the two in the same sentence
> sometimes, even written or spoken.
> I don't think it really super matters which we use, but the confusion
> is costly and pointless.
> At the Augmented Reality Dev Camp here in Amsterdam yesterday, one of
> the comments was
>     "So what is an URI? mentioned by steven pemberton and hans
> overbeek #ardevcamp "
> This is perfectly reasonable question from an educated and technical
> audience member, and a perfectly avoidable one. I mean no disrespect
> to either of the fine speakers, or the audience member; the mess is
> not of their making. RDFa and Linked Data were presented to a mixed
> audience, some coders, some artists, game designers, augmented
> reality, mapping folk etc... a real big mix.; and I think it went over
> well, but this silly issue of URI/URL is a bug worth fixing. We should
> be able to say "URL" unapologetically, correctly and without fear of
> contradiction. It's a fine acronym; it just has the wrong expansion.
> Easily fixed, since most people (as you say) won't even bother to look
> it up.
> My suggestion is that we flip things upside down. Too often "URL"
> comes across a being a kind of double-taboo (it's the old, incorrect
> name .... and it's (to URN-advocates) the crappy, lower quality form
> of linking, prone to breakage, 404 etc). People who use "URL" often do
> it in a sort of self-deprecating way; they know they should probably
> say "URI" or perhaps "IRI"; or maybe they really mean "URI Reference"
> or is that "IRI Reference" to be really inclusive and modern? [And are
> they called URI schemes now, or IRI schemes? I truly have no idea.]
> So let's pull URL out from the bottom of the pile, reinstate it at the
> top, and rework the acronym to remove the most troublesome part
> "Locator". By flipping that to something link-centric, we re-emphasise
> the core value of the Web, and turn the conversation away from
> pointless ratholes like "names/IDs vs addresses/locations" to
> something potentially *much* more productive: different types of
> URL-based linking.
>  * the whole mess around 'UR*' makes it hard for even technically
> aware observers to talk clearly
>  * we don't have an actively used "top term" in the tech scene for all
> those identifying strings (URIs, URI Refs, IRIs, IRI Refs)
>  * the deprecated nature of 'URL' means we don't reward people for
> using it; we make them feel dumber instead of smarter. We say "URL?
> yeah kinda, you probably really ought to say URI but don't worry, you
> nearly got it" instead of "Yeah, URLs - universal resource linkers -
> it's all about linking; if you understand URLs you understand the core
> idea behind the Web" (and the Web of data, ... and the Web of things,
> ...)
> There was a fuss a while back when the HTML5 spec was using "URL"
> instead of "URI"; however that was without the proposed
> reconceptualisation here. I'd hate to stir up a fuss, but I think we
> have a lot of interesting ingredients:
> * the term 'URL' isn't being used in a technical sense currently - I
> consider it available for careful redeployment
> * many of us are already using it informally as an overarching
> umbrella term ('cos we know it works)
> * it has massive market-presence and is understood pretty well by the public
> * we really badly need an umbrella term that hides the URI vs IRI vs
> *RI-Ref distinction from normal humans
> * 'universal resource linker' is loose and evocative enough to do the
> job, and makes people feel smarter not dumber...
> cheers,
> Dan

Received on Sunday, 18 April 2010 18:41:15 UTC