Re: Globalizing URIs

Karen R. Sollins (sollins@lcs.mit.edu)
Fri, 11 Aug 1995 14:15:01 -0400


Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 14:15:01 -0400
Message-Id: <199508111815.OAA05694@lysithea.lcs.mit.edu>
From: "Karen R. Sollins" <sollins@lcs.mit.edu>
To: weibel@oclc.org
Cc: uri@bunyip.com
In-Reply-To: <199508111224.IAA03977@ws02-00.rsch.oclc.org> (weibel@oclc.org)
Subject: Re: Globalizing URIs

Stu,

I believe that an alternative position one could take is that humans
should never see those things.  In order to engineer something
properly (like my car) there are a great many components that I as a
mere mortal will never see and would not be able to do anything with
if I could.  That doesn't mean they shouldn't exist in the form their
in or that they should be friendly and accessible to me.  It means the
engineers did something right if it works efficiently and addresses my
problems.  

We as systems builders also create a number of things that
normal humans should never see, and URIs should fall into that
category.  You can be sure that I don't want to have to explain to my
88 yr old father all the components of telnet, SNMP, HTTP, in order for
him to be able to log in somewhere, send me mail, or browse the Web.
He doesn't have to know about IP numbers to do those things.  If he
has to know about the locations of objects in order to use the web of
the future we will have made a giant mistake.

It sounds to me like RandTriever had some basic systems flaws.  I'm
sorry that the library built their system around it, but that doesn't
mean that we should continue pay the penalty into the future.  No
person should ever transcribe any of those numbers or identifiers;
humans are notoriously bad at doing that.

I am very much in favor of human friendly naming schemes, in fact lots
of them.  Human brains are twisted on in many different ways and
humans do lots of different things.  So, there is probably a need for
a wide variety of people friendly naming schemes.  In fact, I've spent
many years thinking about and working on such problems.  But, we are
talking about something below that here, at that lower level, please
lets distinguish who OUR clients are.  They should be programs, not
people.

			Karen