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Re: "On the Web" vs "On the Semantic Web" (was Re: resources and URIs)

From: Michael Mealling <michael@neonym.net>
Date: 20 Jul 2003 12:07:42 -0400
To: pat hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <1058717262.23357.194.camel@blackdell.neonym.net>

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 16:34, pat hayes wrote:
> >Michael Mealling wrote:
> >
> >>In my 'layered' view, the SW is a layer above the web, and as such a SW
> >>'resource' contains at its heart, a Web resource. You _could_ think of
> >>it this way: it's the same object with multiple interfaces, the
> >>Uri-Resource view found in 2396 being the equivalent of an IUnknown
> >>interface (just without the ability to query for  the other
> >>interfaces)'. As you go up the layers you end up with more available
> >>interfaces to pick from....
> >
> >I have a lot of sympathy with this world-view.  Is there anyone who 
> >really doesn't like it?
> 
> I really don't like it, for one. I don't see the SW as being in a 
> layer above the Web, and the only way I can make sense of this seems 
> to suggest a misunderstanding of the aims of the SW; that is is 
> supposed to be in some sense a new kind of meta-data about the Web 
> itself.  If y'all have that idea in mind, please try to put it out of 
> your mind. SW technology *could* be used that way, but that is not 
> the primary or intended use case for the technology.

That's a fine point of view. But what I'm after with the idea of layers
is that there is a layer boundary between the Web (the definition I'm
using is "that set in which each member is identified by a URI") and the
Semantic Web such that other application that use URIs are never
impacted by the fact that the SW either exists or does not exist. This
means that 2396bis and its definitions, which work just fine for other
very deployed applications, is left completely as is. In network
engineering that's called a 'layer boundary'.

> BTW, the current usage of "resource" in the SW specifications is 
> vacuous: a SW Resource can be anything whatsoever, real or imaginary, 
> on or off the Web, in the past or future, of any nature, with or 
> without a URI. So to claim that all SW resources 'contain' a Web 
> resource sounds like it would also have to be vacuous or else would 
> be obviously false (depending on what a 'web resource' is, which of 
> course I have no idea about, this never having been defined or 
> elucidated anywhere.)

And that's fine as well. Nothing in my layer view suggests that there is
a one to one mapping between a SW resource and a URI-Resource....

> I have no idea what an interface to an object could possibly be. 
> What kinds of interface do the following objects have: a grain of 
> sand, a galaxy, an imaginary detective ?

I'm comfortable with electronic proxies for physical things.... Hell, I
registered a URN namespace that is explicitly limited to identifying
human beings and aggregates of human beings. I've written several
electronic interfaces to them as well. It all seems to work just fine.

> PS.  Reading things like this makes me wonder whether you guys 
> inhabit the same planet as the rest of us. Things with hearts and 
> multiple interfaces, arranged in layers...?? What the hell are you 
> talking about??? Here I am looking out of my window at an oak tree 
> and I wonder if its a resource, and what its interfaces could be, and 
> what layer it would be in.... and then I decide that none of this 
> makes the slightest sense. Unfortunately, that is the only conclusion 
> I am left with, yet again.

Its called network engineering. Ever done any of it? 

-MM
Received on Sunday, 20 July 2003 12:09:39 UTC

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