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Re: New draft TAG Finding on The Self-Describing Web

From: Jonathan Rees <jonathan.rees@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 10:13:11 -0400
Message-ID: <3cff5e070705300713p32e3448dw613229528b368203@mail.gmail.com>
To: "noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com" <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org

I'm sorry, I'm new to the list and haven't had time to review the
archives. I know these topics have been pounded to death, so please
just point me to previous threads if they address my points. I'm also
writing hastily since I know y'all are talking about this soon.

- You (and others) say: "Information resources are resources,
identified by URIs and whose essential characteristics can be conveyed
in a message [AWWW]." This is not an operational definition; I have no
idea how to consider some resource, apply this criterion, and
determine whether or not it is an information resource. For example,
what message, if any, conveys the essential characteristics of the
resource denoted by http://news.google.com/ ? Surely today's news has
little bearing on the essence of this resource. I, at least, would
have said that the resource is something whose essence is to give the
moment's news at every moment. The message you get from an HTTP GET is
just a sampling of complicated variable, not the variable itself.

Well, you haven't stated any relationship between the postulated
message conveying the resource's essence and the messages we get when
we dereference its URI; that might allow a loophole of some kind. But
I don't think you intend to separate those two.

Anyhow, Google is the URI owner and gets to decide what the URI
denotes; so who are we to be talking about the essences of Google's
resources? If we know independently what a URI denotes, and have an
objective definition of "information resource", then we can take
stands on the information-resourceness of the denoted resource.
Otherwise it's an exercise in futility, and instead we should just be
talking empirically about URI's and HTTP experiences.

- I think httpRange-14 doesn't really mean to say that the fact of a
200 response implies that the resource is an information resource;
after all, assuming that "information resource" has some ontological
legitimacy, servers can be wrong, inconsistent, or deceptive (consider
the HTTP response you get by dereferencing
http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes/PatHayes.html, which directly
contradicts httpRange-14). I think the intent is that a 200
constitutes an *assertion* that the resource is an information
resource. The shift from implication to assertion allows that Pat can
be right while his server is wrong.


On 5/24/07, noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com> wrote:
> I am pleased to announce the availability of a revised draft of a TAG
> finding, now titled "The Self-Describing Web" [1,2].  This replaces the
> draft [3] which had the title "The Importance of Self-Describing
> Documents".  The title has been changed to reflect the fact that the
> finding discusses not just the creation of individual self-describing
> documents, but the self-describing qualities of the Web as a whole.
> This draft has been prepared for discussion at the June 2007 Face to Face
> Meeting of the TAG [4], and it is intended in part to address comments
> made at the March 2006 Face to Face Meeting of the TAG [5] (for some
> reason the minutes linked at [5] are W3C member-only;  I expect we'll fix
> that shortly.)  The material in chapters 1-3 is adapted from the previous
> version of the finding.  I believe it's in reasonably good shape, and
> should be reviewed accordingly.  Chapter 4 and its subsections are new,
> and are correspondingly rougher.  I think even chapter 4 is easily good
> enough to make clear what material I intend to cover, but I do expect that
> it will need at very least some editorial work.  It also has not yet
> benefited from any review by other members of the TAG.
> FYI:  I have updated the references to this finding in the F2F agenda at
> [4], and also added a reference to it in the public list of draft TAG
> findings at [6].  I look forward to comments from the TAG at the F2F next
> week, and to comments from other readers of www-tag.  Thank you!
> Noah
> [1] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/selfDescribingDocuments.html
> [2] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/selfDescribingDocuments-2007-05-24.html
> [3] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/selfDescribingDocuments-2007-02-25.html
> [4] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2007/05/29-agenda
> [5] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2007/03/06-minutes#item08
> [6] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/findings#draft
> --------------------------------------
> Noah Mendelsohn
> IBM Corporation
> One Rogers Street
> Cambridge, MA 02142
> 1-617-693-4036
> --------------------------------------
Received on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 14:13:14 UTC

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