URA distinctions

Leslie Daigle (leslie@beethoven.bunyip.com)
Thu, 23 Mar 95 21:45:45 -0500

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 95 21:45:45 -0500
From: Leslie Daigle <leslie@beethoven.bunyip.com>
Message-Id: <9503240245.AA21447@beethoven.bunyip.com>
To: misha@research.att.com, ura-bunyip@bunyip.com, uri@bunyip.com
Subject: URA distinctions

>From some of the comments we've received, I feel the need to make some more
statements distinguishing what we've proposed in URAs from what people
can build with HTML/SGML documents.


[Michael Rabinovich. wrote:]

> But I think it would be more appropriate then to create your own resource (a pag) that
> points to all these indexes. Then you can pass a URL (or rather URN) of this page
> to your friend. Why do you need another mechanism for this? 

I think the URA proposal that I sent out covers a few more examples than
did my original abstract, and I hope that it's clearer that we envision
doing more than just passing around URL/URNs to friends (although the
sample application we've built does focus on that particular feature).

However, there is the issue of the model of using higher-level document
description languages (e.g., things like HyTime, which was built specifically
to support time-based documents), and how we position URAs in comparison
to those languages.

The main distinction between the active-document model and what we are 
suggesting is that model assumes that the consumer of the information is 
necessarily a human using a browsing application.  However, there are more 
complex information tasks that either don't have humans as consumers, or at 
least may use something other than a document browser as interpreter.  This 
means that there has to be a formalized mechanism for specifying what activity 
is to be carried out, and what is to be done with the information returned  
from that activity.  That is what the URA is intended to capture.   Like URLs, 
URAs are meant to be useful even completely outside the realm of WWW documents.

For instance, I can't see building an Internet publishing _system_ (i.e.,
digital signatures, caching, updating, versioning) using SGML documents
as _mechanisms_ to make the system work, but this is definitely the sort of 
role we see URAs filling.



"Freedom without responsibility                        Leslie Daigle
           is anarchy"                                 leslie@bunyip.com
                  -- ThinkingCat                       Montreal, Canada