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

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

From: pat hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 12:04:37 -0500
Message-Id: <p06001209bb41c9461407@[]>
To: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Cc: Michael Mealling <michael@neonym.net>, www-tag@w3.org

>pat hayes wrote:
>>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....
>If someone publishes an URI for it

How could anyone tell whether a URI was 'for' an oak tree? You said 
it yourself:

[PH] Am I identified by a URI? How could anyone possibly tell?

[TB] You're right; the current web architecture provides no way to 
test this condition.

>and, even better, provides representations (and even, better the 
>representations include audio and video and photos), then yes, that 
>oak tree is on the Web as far as I, or any software I write, can 

I doubt if you or anyone else could write software that could tell 
whether an oak tree was or was not connected with the Web in any way 
at all. At the very least, you would need to have a very advanced 
piece of visual recognition software; to get a particular tree you 
would need to have it incorporated into something that knew where it 
was and where it was looking at. You need something like a webcam 
linked to a GPS and a compass running an AI vision system that knew a 
lot about botany.

But look, aside from this, your answer makes being 'on the Web' 
meaningless. Its not an architectural condition, obviously. It does 
not correspond to 'having a URI' since the URI could identify an 
image of the tree just as well as the tree itself; and in fact if the 
URI starts 'http:' and ends with a fragID then it is required to 
indicate an anchored place in an HTML document, not the thing 
'denoted' - if there is a single such thing, which is extremely 
doubtful - by the picture or text found at that anchored location. 
What if the anchored location is a piece of text which describes an 
entire situation involving lots of entities? Which of them is THE 
resource that the URI is supposed to indicate? What if it is a 
picture of three trees? A drawing of Yggdrasil?

Y'all need to get the story straight: you are trying to make URIs and 
this notion of 'indicates' do too many different things at the same 


>Cheers, Tim Bray
>         (ongoing fragmented essay: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/)

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Received on Monday, 21 July 2003 13:04:40 UTC

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