Draft revised text for 2.2 on ambiguity/indirect identification

1. URI Ambiguity

In Web Architecture, URIs identify resources.  They are also useful in 
other roles, but this should not normally lead to ambiguity in the 
identification function.  Consider the following scenario: a 
software-development group building a database of information about 
companies might choose to use the URI of each company's Web site as a 
unique lookup key, since URIs have useful properties of uniqueness, 
longevity, and moderate length.  In this application, the Web site URI 
is being used indirectly to identify the company.  The same 
software-development group might build a another database of web pages, 
very likely indexed by URI.  However, this does not mean that the 
company has become its Web site, that some Web-page record is actually 
a company, that the fields of the two databases would be consistent, or 
that the URIs would necessarily be useful as a basis for merging.

Similarly, people can be identified by their email addresses.  When 
conference organizers ask attendees to register by giving their email 
addresses, both parties know that they are using the mailbox identifier 
indirectly to identify the person.  The resource identified by the URI 
"mailto:nadia@example.com" is still a mailbox, not a person.

... continue with Moby-Dick ...

Cheers, Tim Bray  http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/

Received on Saturday, 15 November 2003 17:45:43 UTC