W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > July 2003

Re: resources and URIs

From: Jonathan Borden <jonathan@openhealth.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 09:42:59 -0400
Message-ID: <040d01c34ba0$2f4f1bb0$b6f5d3ce@svhs.local>
To: "Tim Bray" <tbray@textuality.com>, "pat hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: <www-tag@w3.org>, "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>

Tim Bray wrote:

> ... It is a correct and important assertion (and one that needs to
> be made) that you're not part of the Web until you have a URI,

A few questions:
1) You are making a clear distinction between the "Web" and the "semantic
web". Is the TAG limited to "Web" issues, and is it the intention to define
a "Web" as distinct from a "SW" ... I ask, because as a member of the WebOnt
WG, I had assumed that the TAG was supposed to deal with issues involving
potentially *any* of the W3C WGs/activities. Is it your specific intention
to define an architecture for the "Web" as distinct from the "SW"? If so,
I'll stop commenting on any of this.

> ... and that
> being a part of the Web is a good thing.  If there is a problem with
> taking it literally in the SW context, then don't take it literally in
> the SW context.  This worries me, because the statement is correct and
> useful.

If we are going to concern the "SW" at least as it is incarnated in current
activities and specific software products (i.e. RDF and OWL related
software), then you may certainly be a part of the Web without a URI. Hence
the statement is not correct in the SW context -- I'm not entirely convinced
that it is correct in the 'current Web' context e.g.

Am *I* a part of the Web? I assert that I am a resource which is providing a
representation via a proxy that is part of the Web (by your definition).
That is to say my email address mailto:jonathan@openhealth.org is a URI by
which folks may communicate with *me* but I assert that it is not *my URI*
rather the URI of my mailbox. Is that a problem? I suppose you might
strictly define *me* as being 'off the Web' but my wife will certainly
object -- she has ample evidence that I spend a great deal of time *on* the

> >, as URIs there
> > typically cannot be said to identify anything: they act as names whose
> > possible referents are constrained by the assertions made using them,
> > but they are not 'linked' to anything, not 'bound' to anything, and are
> > not obliged to 'identify' anything; and the universes of discourse may
> > contain entities which cannot possibly be all identified or even
> > referred to by URIs, since there are too many of them, or it is
> > physically impossible to identify them with enough precision, or simply
> > because it is impractical to do so.
> I don't understand the above.  URIs in the Web architecture are what
> they are, and what they are is effectively defined by a huge universe of
> deployed technology; they are character strings that can be used to look
> things up in databases and to retrieve representations.  This is the
> basis of the Web architecture.  If you want to use them as a basis for
> building the SW, that's fine, but please don't try to stop us from
> writing down an accurate description of reality as it empirically is.

Certainly reality includes RDF applications which date back to 1999? Are you
limiting your definition to HTTP servers? You ought not.

> > We need to get clear on this issue, or else we will continue to be mired
> > in confusion.
> We are *entirely* clear what URIs are in the context of the Web-that-is,
> and we have the software to prove it.  We are trying to write down that
> shared understanding.

He he he. If we were *entirely* clear what URIs where, why all the endless

> >
> > Let me suggest that it would be worth distinguishing between what a
> > representation is *about*, and what resource *produced* it.
> This sounds like an excellent job for the Semantic Web.  The current Web
> gets along fine without such a distinction.

Ouch. Actually resources *producing* representations have nothing to do with
the SW.

Received on Wednesday, 16 July 2003 09:43:11 UTC

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