Re: infoURI standard officially blessed

From: Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 13:17:11 -0500

Hammond, Tony wrote:
> Sorry - but just don't buy it.
> I also remember the Web (yeah, from way back when, then - when it was fun
> :).
> Difference being (between our apparent positions) is that I _am_ a believer.
> But in URI. Please, please, do not confound deref (the clickability thing -
> that blue touchline) with the naming of things. To quote self (oh, and how
> do I love to):
> "When referencing an information asset by means of its "info" URI,
> the asset SHALL be considered a "resource" as defined in RFC 3896 [RFC3896]
> and SHALL enjoy the same common syntactic, semantic and shared language
> benefits that the URI presentation confers."
> That's what a URI means. It does _not_mean that you need a browser plugin or
> extra code or anything else. All it means is that if you find a string used
> in a URI context which is conformant to URI syntax as governed by (you know
> what) then everythng is hunky dory. One can either offer service against
> said URI (having proved that it has a valid structure) or one can simply say
> "Nopes - recognize you guy but don't know how to field". I am beginning to
> wonder if there are indeed _any_ applications out there that recognize URIs
> without having something hardwired into 'em. (Btw, I don't believe in
> browsers.)
> Frankly, I'm getting a teensy weensy bit tired of this. Let's choose: HTTP
> or URI. I'm backing URI.
> Cheers,
> Tony
> Ps/
> If I sound stroppy - I am. It's 17.42 and black as coal outside. Take care
> of yous.


one of the beauty of the internet as a socio-technological platform is
Postel's principle: "be strict in what you send, be tolerant in what you

It's nothing new (in fact, almost all religions that survive the cult
phase have some design pattern like this in their core) yet it's
something very valuable.

I do follow the same principle in the sense that while I disagree with
your point of view, I ultimately respect it because I understand
perfectly where it comes from (I toyed with URN resolution via DNS
myself for a while, before realizing I was, in fact, reinventing HTTP).

Personally, I believe that the reason why the web is better than all the
other information systems that were created before it's because of the
(lax) mixture of identification and dereferencing. Having all IDs for
all the books it's useless without somebody that knows where to get them
for you when you need them. It would be like a library without shelfs
and just books thrown in the room at random, a librarian's worst nightmare.

You are promoting to separate the identification from the location concerns.

I completely understand why this is appealing (it makes indentification
a lot easier), but I can't stop thinking this is a mistake: the
equivalent would be to enter a huge building full of unordered books and
divide the workforce in two, one that works on giving an identifier for
all the books and one that works on ways to find them.... if they don't
talk *while* they are doing it, it's going to be harder to find those
books later, not easier.

But then again, I know I'm not going to change your mind and you mine,
so let's just agree to disagree. (also because it's sunny here ;-)

Stefano Mazzocchi
Research Scientist                 Digital Libraries Research Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology            location: E25-131C
77 Massachusetts Ave                   telephone: +1 (617) 253-1096
Cambridge, MA  02139-4307              email: stefanom at mit . edu
Received on Mon Nov 14 2005 - 18:11:13 EST

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