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RE: FYI -- draft ietf uri doc

From: Paskin, Norman (DOI-ELS) <n.paskin@doi.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 09:29:52 +0100
Message-ID: <97A4BBFAC1B9D211B2620008C71EF88102EA10F6@ELSOXFS12305>
To: "'Leslie Daigle'" <leslie@thinkingcat.com>
Cc: uri@w3.org
The context of my comments on "what is a resource" was in response to
Leslie's request for involvement with "the IETF community to examine the
area of more sophisticated (than simple "http get") resource access
services", and add the perspective of the DOI community.  The discussion of
this was to be at an informal meeting on Nov 3 but seems to have kicked off
on this list.  

I accept that applications are the place to further constrain the
definitions of what the applications consider Resource or URIs (as noted by
Roy and Michael).  After all, that's exactly what we are doing in the case
of DOI: we apply the concept of URN (or URI, depending on your prejudice
:-)) and add to it policies e.g. accompanying metadata describing the
resource according to a data model, etc. which make sense in the DOI
namespace, and limitations on the resource (must be a piece of intellectual
property, though that is not a narrow restriction of course).  

I then wonder though what can be achieved in this IETF discussion if we are
apparently to restrict to the lowest common denominator of any resource =
any thing, any time, any place, no defining resource descriptors, no
constraints.   Can someone give an example of what sort of new resource
access service is envisaged and can be meaningfully constructed, given these
(non-) limitations, other than "pointing to" (= get) the resource?  How do I
"know" that this resource is a fax number, not a Tuesday afternoon? It may
be that "if we constrain that entire document to just that then its very
doable" - but is it useful?  The usefulness of DOI comes from having defined
constraints and being able to construct services using the information the
constraints supply.

I fully accept that this perception might be too narrow and may be due to
where I am coming from: I am not considering issues such as IP telephony
noted by Leslie in her latest note, and of course am not an Internet
technologist.  Maybe I have missed something here: I haven't seen any
scoping document for the IETF discussion other than the material Leslie has
produced.  Is there supplementary material that would help? 

Norman Paskin

-----Original Message-----
From: Leslie Daigle [mailto:leslie@thinkingcat.com]
Sent: 04 September 2000 19:41
To: Paskin, Norman (DOI-ELS)
Cc: uri@w3.org
Subject: Re: FYI -- draft ietf uri doc


I understand where you're coming from, but I don't believe this is
the right document in which to attempt to solve it.  From the standpoint 
of URIs, resources truly can be anything "with identity" -- and
what that means will vary depending on whether you're building an
electronic information interchange or an IP telephony system
(is the thing at the end of this telephone number URL connected to a 
human?  or might it be fax, voicemail...).  URIs are used in
many different information contexts, and I truly doubt there is 
a single, practically applicable, definition of "resource" that
would work for all of them.

That being said, I agree that to build useful tools, one does have to 
nail down criteria, assumptions, or at least expectations about the 
"resources" that will be handled.   But that means defining the
context first (e.g., e-commerce of digital intellectual property
elements) and then asserting what the additional stipulations for
validity within that context are.

As to saying what something is -- there's the RDF work, and there's
also the on-going RESCAP (resource capability) working group within
the IETF, which originally was intended to be a service for determining
capabilities of things like mailboxes (e.g., will this mailbox 
accept Word attachments), but latterly the thinking has been
to see it as a candidate for querying more general capabilities
of specific resources.  I'm not really convinced it's the answer
to your question, but I mention it because it's there...


"Paskin, Norman (DOI-ELS)" wrote:
> RFC 2396 says: "A resource can be anything that has identity". Gee thats
> helpful in designing tools!  :-).
> I think my point still stands:
> "the answer to the question "what is a resource".  As the W3C RDF activity
> has found (in my opinion), it is no longer sufficient to gloss over this
> saying "whatever you want".  It may indeed be necessary to allow it to be
> "whatever you want" but there must be  some constraints if we are to build
> useful tools to deal with resources: "whatever you want, but you say what
> is as follows....so that we can design tools which will do the
> following...."
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roy T. Fielding [mailto:fielding@kiwi.ICS.UCI.EDU]
> Sent: 04 September 2000 10:03
> To: Paskin, Norman (DOI-ELS)
> Cc: uri@w3.org
> Subject: Re: FYI -- draft ietf uri doc
> >1.  I note that this is indeed an attempt to say what the current IETF
> >picture is.  As such, it clearly lacks a key component: the answer to the
> >question "what is a resource".  As the W3C RDF activity has found (in my
> Resource is defined in RFC 2396.
> ....Roy


"Reality with a delicate splash of the imaginary... 
    ... or was that the other way around?"
   -- ThinkingCat

Leslie Daigle
Received on Tuesday, 5 September 2000 04:30:33 UTC

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