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RE: web proper names redux

From: Hammond, Tony <T.Hammond@nature.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 15:04:46 +0100
Message-ID: <125F7834E11A5741A7D79412EE3504F90CE55940@UK1APPS2.nature.com>
To: "'Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com'" <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>, hhalpin@ibiblio.org, www-rdf-interest@w3.org
Cc: ht@inf.ed.ac.uk

> This isn't really a "solution" at the RDF level, since URIs 
> are fully opaque, and thus, one is not licensed to examine 
> the URI scheme to make decisions regarding the meaning of a 
> given URI, insofar as the RDF MT is concerned. True, some 
> people do that, but that is non-conformant and potentially 
> dangerous behavior for a SW client.

This actually should not go unchallenged - it is simply incorrect - see 


	"Good practice: URI opacity

	Agents making use of URIs SHOULD NOT attempt to infer properties of
the referenced resource except as specified by relevant specifications."


	"Some URI assignment authorities document and publish their URI
assignment policies."

A good example of this is "The OpenURL Framework" which is (proposed)
ANSI/NISO information standard Z39.88, see


This defines a public data model in support of context-sensitive services
and a public registry for core components used by the data model (e.g.
identifier namespaces, metadata formats, etc.). Two serializations are
defined by the draft standard - an HTTP(S) URI querystring, and an XML
document. (Other serializations for the data model - eg RDF/XML - are
possible. An RSS 1.0 module 'mod_context' has alreay been published.) The
(proposed) standard thus provides a public prescription for building HTTP(S)
URI querytrings. An OpenURL in the wild can be recognized by a defined
token, and further can be validated to prove conformancy with the data

Thus an OpenURL (i.e. in URI form) is not opaque at the querystring level
since there is a relevant public specification - Z39.88.



Tony Hammond

New Technology, Nature Publishing Group
4 Crinan Street, London N1 9XW, UK 


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Received on Monday, 27 September 2004 14:05:22 UTC

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