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Assumptions about URIs

  • To: xml-dev@l...
  • Subject: Assumptions about URIs
  • From: "Bent Rasmussen" <n2i@h...>
  • Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2002 08:34:43 +0100
  • Bcc:

msn uri

I have some assumptions about the web I'd like to test here;
below is a list.

Relations (basic)

- There is a subspace, addresses.

- There is a subspace of addresses, URI.

- There is a subspace of URI, URN, that are names.

- There is a subspace of URI, URL, that are locations;
  but without any formal specification

Principles

- A resource is an entity.

- A representation is an entity.

- A URI may identify resources that are also
  representations.

- A subspace is about a lesser set of entities than
  its superspace.

- A space is about a set of resources, for example
  "tel:" is about phone numbers and "http:" is about
  hypertexts.

- URIs are data; the URI space is a data structure,
  a lexical space; a URI is an instance of the data
  structure.

- A space is an informal social contract that makes
  the author in particular and users in general aware
  about the intended semanrtics; it is the informal
  complement of a deferred type.

- A resource is an informal social contract that
  makes the author in particular and users in
  general aware about the intended semantics;
  it is the informal complement of a final type;
  final because addresses are not spaces.

- A address may itself be a space, e.g. "urn:isbn".

So

- Either a system must respect these intentions or
  it must disregard the resource concept; either
  it sees URIs as spaces and datastructures or it
  sees them as strings that are suitable as (global)
  keys in maps like the DNS but their exact nature
  is irrelevant to the system and it only needs them
  as keys.

?

Oppinions

- Camp A wants to see URIs as strings that have the
  meaning of whatever the author wants them to have.
  They do not approve that URLs are locations and
  use them to identify anything.

- Camp B wants to see URIs as data and data structures
  and see URI spaces as having informal semantics that
  should be respected by systems; that's why they want
  to use URN because with URN you can define name spaces
  that have your intended semantics.

- Camp C doesn't care about either or doesn't see the
  difference.

- Camp D (?) has a more nuanced view than either of these.

Perhaps the central question would be:

- "Does the URI 'http://www.w3.org' identify an
  organisation called W3C or a location on the Web?"



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