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Re: Terminology Question concerning Web Architecture and Linked Data

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 17:00:16 -0400
Message-ID: <e9dffd640707231400g69ea2821qd496ae5445e498d8@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Booth, David (HP Software - Boston)" <dbooth@hp.com>
Cc: "Dan Brickley" <danbri@danbri.org>, "Chris Bizer" <chris@bizer.de>, www-tag@w3.org, semantic-web@w3.org, "Linking Open Data" <linking-open-data@simile.mit.edu>

On 7/23/07, Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) <dbooth@hp.com> wrote:
> > From: Mark Baker
> >
> > . . . I *fully* agree
> > that the representations returned from all four of those URIs
> > are *about* Tim, I just don't believe that makes them the same
> > resource.
> This is confusing for a couple of reasons.  First, because each URI for
> TimBL (a non-information resource) involves a secondary URI for an
> information resource that serves a declaration of the first URI.  So it
> isn't clear which URIs you're talking about, as referring to "the same
> resource".

Any of them, it doesn't matter for the purposes of my argument.  So if
there's eight URIs in total, I claim that none of them directly
identify the same resource.

To elaborate further, I'm not saying that the publishers of those URIs
cannot assert "This URI (directly) identifies Tim".  Of course they
can.  Let's even assume they've done so.  But now let's step back and
look at those assertions in the aggregate, as an independent observer.
 Do they all directly identify the same resource?  Well, if they did,
then they would all be aliases (the word Chris used in his initial
question) such that each URI would be able to be substituted for any
of the others in all contexts.  Right?  Consider though, that URI #1
could also be used to indirectly identify "An example dbpedia.org
page", or "A document containing the string 'Depiction of Tim
Berners-Lee", but you couldn't say the same thing about any of the
other URIs.  Therefore they are not aliases and so do not all directly
identify the same resource.

I suppose that's just a long-winded way of pointing out that each of
us means something different by "Tim" (even the "independent
observer").  We all have the same physical person in mind, but we each
introduce our own biases in the information we publish about him, and
that's what makes our URIs directly identify different resources.

On the upside, all those URIs can still be used to *indirectly* identify Tim.

FWIW, I'm not certain if that explanation is consistent with REST or
not.  It's not directly covered by the dissertation AFAICT, nor have I
heard Roy say anything about how agency affects direct and indirect
identification.  But it makes sense to me based on my understanding of
REST and my experiences applying it.  I hope Roy will correct me if
I'm wrong.

Mark Baker.  Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.         http://www.markbaker.ca
Coactus; Web-inspired integration strategies  http://www.coactus.com
Received on Monday, 23 July 2007 21:00:31 UTC

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