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RE: CURIEs: A proposal

From: Bullard, Claude L \(Len\) <len.bullard@intergraph.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 08:15:14 -0500
Message-ID: <7411F30464DC9C479FB14CFD348D71D976477E@US-MAIL.ingrnet.com>
To: "Paul Prescod" <paul@prescod.net>, "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: "Harry Halpin" <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>, <www-tag@w3.org>
It could be better to stop using the term 'self-describing' because it
is anthropomorphic for one and misleading.  What you are saying is that
it is documented and those documents are cited by the reference.
Too much effort is invested in inventing new ways to say
Otherwise, one conventionally distinguishes labels from names.  A name
conventionally has a referent.   A label might not.  Yet Pat Hayes'
point is 
well-taken and historically well-debated.  The claim that a URI by best
practice dereferences to an informative resource is a best practice of
System: The WWW.   Best practices within a closed system of definitions
(the web architecture is closed to itself) don't have to correspond to 
other systems such as a wider scope of linguistics.   So given what we
know about the implementations of the system which if they don't define 
it do circumscribe it by practice, a URI is always dereferenceable and
it is a good idea to put a document of some sort at the other end even
it is just an error message because in practice
That is all there is to it.  The RDF and XML use of URIs are convenient
reapplications of the same object that weaken the syntax by claiming it 
for a different operation than was intended originally.   There is an
inverse relationship of objective meaning and subjective views as those
increase in number.  Scope vs reach:  the more operations subsumed by a
type, the fewer users.


From: www-tag-request@w3.org [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Paul Prescod
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:28 PM
To: Pat Hayes
Cc: Harry Halpin; www-tag@w3.org
Subject: Re: CURIEs: A proposal

Wouldn't you say that if "you" (in the human or machine sense) create a
URI to name somethign then you must know SOMETHING about what you were
trying to name. If the thing you are naming is "HTML" then you know that
"HTML" stands for "Hypertext Markup Language". If the thing you are
naming is a product, then perhaps you know the MSRP. 

On 6/27/06, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> wrote: 

	What they mean is determined by the totality of assertions that
	made using them, and there is no way to access all of that by
	kind of dereferencing. The idea that a single URI can locate an
	'authoritative' or 'defining' piece of (say) OWL or RDF which is
	single best source for what the URI means, is unsupported by any
	the SW specs, false in many widely deployed cases (FOAF, Dublin
	Core), at odds with the open nature of the Web, and IMO harmful.

The referent need not be authoritative or defining (though it often
might be). It is enough that it be informative.

	Im sure it can often help, but a problem arises when someone
	that there *must* be something there, because there are going to
	many cases where it is hard to impossible to provide anything
	so what will be provided will in fact not be useful, but
providing it 
	will nevertheless absorb a lot of effort, the cost of which is a
	brake on development and deployment.

This is the heart of the argument. What examples do you have?

I could understand the argument that it is sometimes hard to provide
anything at all (because providing anything at all requires a web
server). But why would it be hard to provide something meanginful? Why
did you create a name for something about which you know NOTHING? 

	>It helps  to make the Web be "self-describing", although the
notion of 
	>"self-describing" is something I think is another notion that
	>really use some inspection.
	I'd sure like know what it means, myself :-)  Can you elaborate?

Self describing means that a reader can start by looking at some data
and follow links backwards to the specifications that define the
intended meaning of the data. With raw XML, the tags are "links" to
English word meanings which are much more helpful than bit patterns.
With (for example) HTTP-identified namespaces you have actual links to
resources that might describe the meanings of the words in a human or
machine-processable language. 
In short, a self-describing message or document points from the message
towards the spec whereas most messages or documents require you to find
the message or document using some out-of-band mechanism. "This file
starts with the characters MZ. I wonder what file type this is?" 

 Paul Prescod
Received on Wednesday, 28 June 2006 13:15:34 UTC

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