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Re: Draft revised text for 2.2 on ambiguity/indirect identification

From: Walden Mathews <waldenm@optonline.net>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 18:12:48 -0500
To: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-id: <001e01c3ae2a$2f4e5cb0$0902a8c0@ATTIC56COVE>

While the paragraph title says "URI Ambiguity", the text seems to
illustrate the notion many would call "indirect identification".

The intent is not clear to me.  If the point is to say that indirect
identification is not a form of ambiguity, then I'd think the paragraph
would be better titled "Indirect Identification".  It might also be
useful, assuming that intent, to point out that indirect identification
depends not only on the presence of a URI but also the presence
of a context for interpretation.  Sans that context, there can be
no indirect identification.  If, in a context-free setting, a URI seems
to denote more than one resource, that's ambiguity, and considered
harmful.  Something like that.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tim Bray" <tbray@textuality.com>
To: <www-tag@w3.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2003 5:45 PM
Subject: 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/
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Received on Tuesday, 18 November 2003 20:26:31 UTC

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