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Re: Proposal to amend the httpRange-14 resolution

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2012 08:39:34 -0400
Cc: Jonathan A Rees <rees@mumble.net>, Tore Eriksson <tore.eriksson@gmail.com>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <AC48BBCA-7730-499D-B67D-6AB2178D6D29@w3.org>
To: トーレ エリクソン <tore.eriksson@po.rd.taisho.co.jp>

On 2012-03 -26, at 01:31, トーレ エリクソン wrote:
>>> This proposal entails a partial reversion of the httpRange-14
>>> resolution. Specifically, it suggests that a representation retrieved
>>> from a HTTP URI will never* be equivalent to what the URI denotes (the
>>> resource), but will always be a description (of the state) of the
>>> resource, eliminating the risk of confusing a resource with its
>>> description.

[...]


> However, if you don't own the URI, stating this seems to irresponsible.
> The owner might add a content-negotiated Swedish translation with a
> dc:title of "Hittad" and make your statement invalid.


That is hair-splitting -- yes, a generic IR URI may indeed by correspond to
a series of more specific versions in different languages
(See http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Generic and the associated ontology) 
and one can argue whether people incorrectly actually use
one title to refer to the whole lot, but I think it is useful.

> I'm sure that this usage is quite common now. I probably come out
> sounding very arrogant, but I think this way of using URIs is wrong.
> Since most resources lack RDF currently, all we have are the
> representations. It is tempting to use information in the
> representations in RDF statements about the resources, but since you
> can't tell what the owner had in mind, you might say something that is
> incorrect.

A really important part to the semantic web is that is built on
and connects into the exiting web. So no, the authors of the 100 trillion pages out there
did not think about whether the URI for the page, in RDF, 
should be considered as referring to, say, the a whale, Moby Dick,
or the online  book "Moby Dick", but the TAG decided it was
really valuable for RDF statements to be able to be about the web
pages. (This is historically where RDF started, as metadata for web pages,
which might have something to do with it.).
So that decision was made, that for every single one of the 
existing web pages out there, the URI could be
used to refer to that page, without any further inspection.
Which was very valuable.  It allowed Creative Commons to
set a licence system, and all kids of stuff.   Which has been a  very important movement.
It allowed me to make n3 rules about what you could infer from
documents as a function of the provenance of those documents, 
to build trust systems which mapped useful trust models, and so on
and so on. It is  very nice, consistent, and powerful system.
Cwm, a python engine of 10 years ago, has built-in operators for
looking up documents and inspecting the graphs in them, etc.
The documents are a really important part of this world.

If I say 

<#i>  con:likes <http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=2372108&pageno=11>.

Do you really mean that I can't do that unless we get the Gutenberg people
to put a statement on the web page to the effect that the the URI
in fact in RDF can be used to refer to the web page rather than the whale?

Yes, for some, the documents, in particular in their own large semantic web system
are much less interesting than their titles.  But it is arrogant for us to
build a new system which breaks the use for RDF for web pages.
So I have proposed a header which the semantic people can put on their
response to show that *they* are using the new architecture.
It means that anyone who bookmarks a page like that has to be careful,
as they could end up liking the wrong thing -- a serial killer rather than a
well-written page about a serial killer perhaps.


> The argumentation of httpRange-14 and [1] is an attempt to
> justify this behaviour, saying that your interpretation supersedes that
> of the URI owner. I works when the owner doesn't care about his
> resource, but it fails badly when he does. That is why I think we should
> deprecate this usage to clear the way for real, user-served RDF. Thus,
> the effect sure is disruptive, but in a positive way!

Well, if you eliminate the availability of all the other pages
out there to be mentioned in RDF, the that is IMHO a massive step back.

Tim
Received on Monday, 26 March 2012 12:39:50 UTC

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