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RE: URI's for processes, stocks, file hashes, UPC's, etc..

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 08:51:22 -0400
To: <pepper@ontopia.net>
Cc: "'Stan James'" <sjames@uni-osnabrueck.de>, uri@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF89526F8C.1591D9BB-ON852571EE.0045E147-852571EE.0046A0B2@lotus.com>

Steve Pepper writes:

> One important consideration (if this really *is* to be an open 
> standard) is that your users should be able to figure out which 
> "subject" (web page, stock, product, service, etc.) the URI is 
> intended to denote, without necessarily having to use your service. 
> In other words: given an URI used as an "identifier" for an 
> arbitrary subject, it should be easy to discover what that subject is.

Well, I think you're being a bit quick in suggesting that as a design 
point.  In fact, there's a lot of emphasis on the Web on the opacity of 
URIs.  See [1] for an early exposition of this principle by Tim 
Berners-Lee, and "The Architecture of the World Wide Web" [2] for another 
explanation.   Indeed, the TAG is has nearly wrapped up publication of a 
finding devoted entirely to what you should or should not infer about a 
resource from inspection of its URI.  The draft finding is The Use of 
Metadata in URIs [3].  I suggest that those interested in the suggestion 
above consult all of these resources, as this is a topic that's been 
carefully considered as the Web has evolved.

Also, I strongly concur with Mark Baker's suggestion to use http-scheme 
URIs to solve the problem that is the subject of this thread.


[1] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Axioms.html#opaque
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/webarch/#uri-opacity
[3] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/metaDataInURI-31.html

Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Received on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 12:51:44 UTC

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