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

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 14:32:02 -0400
To: Jonathan Rees <jonathan.rees@gmail.com>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070530183202.GB9712@mercury.ccil.org>

Jonathan Rees scripsit:

> This is a good definition because it's fairly clear - it rules out
> cats and quarks, and a large number of other things that I can figure
> out.  But it sounds like you're talking about strings or numbers or
> "representations" - not things that vary along multiple dimensions
> such as time and language (I'm referring to webarch and other dogma
> here).

I think the core of the concept "information resource" is that it's
a resource that we are willing to identify with its representations.
A facsimile of the First Folio, or even a faithful textual transcription,
just *is* the First Folio, as much so as any of the 40-odd surviving
printed copies; but nobody would think that a picture of Shakespeare
really *is* Shakespeare, although it's certainly a representation of him.

> That is, if I assert that R is 52 octets long, or that R's author is
> Charles Darwin, I want to be told that there's a problem if there's
> also reason to believe that R is a cat, or R is Socrates (belongs to
> a disjoint class).

This is a good example: it's really only a *representation* of R that
can be 52 octets long (after all, negotation might provide more than one
representation of the resource with a given URI), but because it's an
information resource, we are willing to blur whether a statement about
the resource is really about the (or some) representation.  We have no
trouble with "The XML 1.0 Recommendation (Fourth Edition) is 214243
bytes long", whereas we rebel at "Shakespeare is 176 x 190 pixels in
area", even though that's indeed the image size you get by retrieving
http://www.heritage.org/images/shakespeare.jpg .

Yes, chili in the eye is bad, but so is your    John Cowan
ear.  However, I would suggest you wash your    cowan@ccil.org
hands thoroughly before going to the toilet.    http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Received on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 18:32:21 UTC

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