W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > August 2002

Using URIs as language instead of as protocol element

From: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 08:55:05 -0700
To: <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <003201c2503d$9c1ae2b0$6ace8642@masinter>

I think the TAG has had difficulty in trying to
apply some kind of theory of semantics to what was
originally designed as computer network protocol
element.

As a HTTP protocol element to a proxy server or
in a HREF in a HTML document, "http://www.w3.org"
is unambiguous enough, but taken as language,
it can be used to denote a wide variety
of items, depending on the context of use: the
web server at www.w3.org, the actual page you retrieve
when you do a HTTP GET on port 80 to the DNS name
www.w3.org with a "GET / HTTP/1.1", or the organization
of "The World Wide Web Consortium".

There's a transfer of meaning (cf.
"Transfers of Meaning", Nunberg,
http://www-csli.stanford.edu/%7Enunberg/JOS.html
)

I don't think you can get far without acknowledging
that using URIs as semantic identifiers carries more
ambiguity than as a protocol elements.

Larry
Received on Friday, 30 August 2002 11:54:51 UTC

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