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

Re: erratum Re: resources and URIs

From: pat hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 09:41:49 -0500
Message-Id: <p06001a1dbb42fc1f0b01@[]>
To: Michael Day <mikeday@yeslogic.com>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org

>  > >To continue your postman example, the postal system is the web, the
>>  >mailing address is the URI, and the thing that sends/receives letters is
>>  >the resource.
>Okay, how about a better analogy: the telephone system! The telephone
>system is the web, the phone number is the URI, the thing that calls and
>receives calls is the resource.
>The resource could be a person, or an automated system, or who knows what,
>but its precise nature does not matter to the telephone system. This is
>perhaps a better analogy than the postal system, given its electronic
>nature. (Consider the speaking clock, and weather hotlines, and so on).

Indeed. Now, my clarification question can be analogized as : are 
'resources' the things talking on the telephone, or whatever those 
talking things are talking *about*?  The speaking clock, or the time?

>>  I honestly think that most of the SW is not going to be concerned
>>  directly with Webbish matters at all. It mostly going to be about
>>  things like money, dates, contracts, people, boring everyday business
>>  stuff. To the extent that it does get involved with senders and
>>  receives it is going to be terribly strict and fussy about its terms
>>  and getting them right, but that's just the nature of the beast:
>>  formal ontologies do get strict and fussy about defining everything.
>Hmm, but then what makes it the semantic *web* rather than an inferencing
>system or ontology language? Why is the W3C involved? What does this have
>to do with HTTP? Why are we even having this discussion? :)

Sorry, I expressed myself badly. What I meant to say was that the 
*topic* of the content expressed on the SW isn't going to be about 
Webbish matters, mostly. (Its not on the current Web, either, of 
course.) The actual formalisms - the syntax, the inference engines 
and so on - will of course be Webbish and indeed have been specially 
designed to be as far as we know how adapted to the Web.

>Incidentally, it is interesting to reconsider the example of identifying
>galaxies by URI in the light of the phone system, and consider identifying
>them by phone number (technically already possible with tel: URIs).
>You can do it, and the phone system / web won't care, but if you try to
>describe it using RDF and say tel:555-1234 is 100 million light years away
>it seems quite confusing.

Right, and it gets more than just confusing when software is trying 
to make sense of it. Still, this kind of thing does happen (maybe not 
phone #s and galaxies, but eg email addresses and people, or home 
pages and people) so often that IMO the SW needs to be ready for it, 
rather than trying to legislate it out of existence. BUt this is a SW 
policy debate rather than an architecture issue for the TAG.

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Received on Tuesday, 22 July 2003 10:42:02 UTC

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