RE: Uniform access to descriptions

Thanks Jonathan, this use case is very helpful.  A new HTTP header does sound like it would be very convenient in this kind of case, but just to continue exploring other options that would not require additions to HTTP . . .

> From: Jonathan Rees
> [ . . . ]
> Acme's first approach is to create a CGI script that takes
> the article's URI as input and returns the bibliographic RDF
> for that article. This gets few adopters and the publisher
> realizes that monolithic action will not be very effective.

I don't know what you mean by "monolithic action".  Can you explain *why* there are few adopters?  For example, suppose Acme's CGI script is configured such that for any document URI u, http://acme.example/metadata?u yields the metadata for u.  It wouldn't seem onerous for an application wanting metadata about u to prepend http://acme.example/metadata? in order to get it.

> At a trade conference they realize that other publishers are
> having the same thought, and there is discussion of how they
> can standardize so that agents can be generic across various
> publishers - indeed over the whole web.

Okay, so the Acme prefix only works for Acme's documents, and other publishers will need to supply their own prefixes.  So for an SWeb application to work uniformly across publishers, the app would need a standard way to map groups of documents to prefixes.  Hmm, haven't I seen that problem somewhere else?  :)  POWDER documents could indicate the necessary mappings from document URI patterns to metadata prefixes.

This seems like it would *mostly* address your use case, but it does leave one detail unaddressed that your use case didn't mention: the SWeb application using the POWDER document would have no way to easily (mechanically) determine that any given mapping rule is *authoritative*.  Thus it would not be able to determine whether the obtained metadata should be considered a part of the document URI's *declaration* rather than merely being ancillary assertions about the document.  In contrast, a new HTTP header would clearly establish authority, and thus the returned metadata could constitute some of the core assertions of the document URI's declaration.

David Booth, Ph.D.
HP Software
+1 617 629 8881 office  |

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not represent the official views of HP unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Received on Wednesday, 26 March 2008 16:49:03 UTC