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Re: TAG Issue proposal: URIs should not be hierarchical

From: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 16:10:33 +0900
Message-Id: <B0C5C19D-EED9-4C44-BAE6-7AA2454E5D3B@w3.org>
Cc: "W3C-TAG" <www-tag@w3.org>
To: Fernando Franco <avoid.spam.account@gmail.com>

Le 28 août 06 à 15:17, Fernando Franco a écrit :
>> The slash in a path gives possibility to map a "hierarchical tree of
>> names", it is a convenience it doesn't have a specific meaning more
>> than the one of organizing information space for the URIs owner.
> But I do seem to recall that slashes do have a specific meaning,  
> associated
> to hierarchies. And since names are not hierarchical, this brings  
> confusion.
> Please note that among my arguments, are:
> + Names are not hierarchical (and that is a reason, per se,  
> regardless of
> anything else)

I'm trying to figure out why you think that names are or are not  

Do you think about names in terms words written with letters? or  
about concepts?

Because in terms of letters, words have mechanisms for meaning AND  
	* succession of letters to produce specific sounds.
		fghjk  <- can't be pronounced in many western languages
	* association of words or concept to produce a new one.
	        astronomy  = astron (Greek) -> star
                              nomia  (Greek) -> administration or  

But that is a bit off-topic. There are structures in things which  
help us to understand them

but the meaning of the word is not in its physical writing. There are  
mechanisms to put letters together or strokes, which help to create  
words and then these words have meanings by social agreement.

> + Same as in XML, adding *one* organization means either to leave  
> out all
> other possible ones, or creating a lot of URI's for the same  
> resource, one
> for each possible organization. Is this desirable?
> + I suggest that other than the word "locator" in "URL", the other  
> main
> reason people think of URI's as locations instead of names, is the  
> existence
> of paths (regardless of wether they are correct in doing so or not).
> + With the advent of the semantic web, we can have all  
> organizations and
> relationships via metadata. No need to push one (and only one) into  
> URIs (or
> to create tons of URIs for the same resource).

I think your issue in the understanding is about mixing

	mechanism to create unique identifiers (meaningless)
	giving meaning to these identifiers.

An URI has no meaning by its writing. What people do with it, the  
context of its use, etc give the URI a meaning.

	radish = "r" "a" "d" "i" "s" "h" has no meaning.

But there is a mechanism in some languages which says, if you read  
these letters from left to right you will produce two sounds.

	"ra" + "dish" and then these two sounds together have been  
associated through ages with the concepts of a [radish], aka a  
vegetable which can be good with butter and salt.

>> Again it has no meaning, it is just a convenience.
> But is it really "convenient"?
> Names are not trees. And we do not represent ontologies via trees,  
> but via
> graphs.
> Graphs can be navigated any way the user prefers, not just one  
> given by a
> webmaster.

yes it is :) Having hierarchies for writing things are everywhere,  
ordering. If you have a *personal* bookshelf, right now near you,  
look at it. You made your own classification, your own hierarchy. It  
doesn't have a meaning for the rest of us, but it's practical for you.

Do not mix hierarchy of meanings with hierarchy for an ordering  
mechanism. These two are unrelated.

>> the ".", ".." and "/" is a mechanism to "navigate" an information
>> space that the URIs owner has chosen to organize.

Hope it helps.

Karl Dubost - http://www.w3.org/People/karl/
W3C Conformance Manager, QA Activity Lead
   QA Weblog - http://www.w3.org/QA/
      *** Be Strict To Be Cool ***
Received on Monday, 28 August 2006 07:10:55 UTC

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