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RE: [Fwd: RE: "information resource"]

From: <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 09:52:51 +0300
Message-ID: <1E4A0AC134884349A21955574A90A7A50ADD41@trebe051.ntc.nokia.com>
To: <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>, <www-tag@w3.org>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-tag-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of
> ext Norman Walsh
> Sent: 18 October, 2004 20:22
> To: www-tag@w3.org
> Subject: Re: [Fwd: RE: "information resource"]
> / Stuart Williams <skw@hp.com> was heard to say:
> | 1) Do we accept the first of Patricks suggested change from:
> |        the set of  resources for which "...all of their essential
> |        characteristics can be conveyed in a message."
> |     to:
> |        "An "information resource" is a resource which constitutes a
> |        body of information."?
> I'm not persuaded. For one thing, saying an information resource
> constitutes a body of information strikes me as circular.
> But more to the point, I don't agree that you can convey all of the
> essential characteristics of a physical object, 

Fine. But I still see that as being a valid interpretation of the
definition originating from the face-to-face meeting.

It all boils down to the fact that "to convey" can also mean "to
communicate", and "characteristic" can also mean "trait" or "property"
and from there, the definition breaks down.

> to take an example of
> a resource that isn't an information resource by our definition, in
> any number of messages.
> It happens that my dog is sleeping in my lap as I type this. I don't
> think anyone could convey everything that is essential about my dog in
> a message. There are characteristics of mass and texture and warmth
> and affection that are not essentially information.

Exactly. I.e. it is not possible to *transfer* all of the *fundamental substance*
of your dog in a message, therefore your dog is not an "information resource".

I don't think that anyone has been suggesting that your dog *should* be an
information resource -- I've myself simply pointed out that in previous
definitions of the term "information resource" the definition could be 
interpreted as allowing one to conclude (based on that definition) that
your dog could be considered an information resource.

I accept that the term "information resource" could be useful to define,
as many of the most successful web applications deal primarily with
information resources. The trick is to get the definition right.

Yes "an information resource *is* information" does seem a bit circular,
but I still think it embodies the essential core of the definition. I.e.

"An information resource is an identifiable body of information
such that every part of its fundamental substance can be entirely 
transferred in a message."

Now, that's perhaps not the most eloquent wording, but it certainly
can't be misunderstood such that one would conclude a dog could ever
be an information resource.


>                                         Be seeing you,
>                                           norm
> -- 
> Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM / XML Standards Architect / Sun 
> Microsystems, Inc.
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Received on Tuesday, 19 October 2004 06:53:10 UTC

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