Born Greedy

From: Hammond, Tony <>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 11:14:19 -0000

Nice post, Alf.

Just wanted to say that from my perspective (and I could be wrong - it does
happen - once in a blue moon ;) but the Web was born greedy. The Web has
many geniuses: lightweight, stateless transport protocol, simple 101 markup
language, broken and busted (ie one-way, anonymous) hyperlinking
architecture. No wonder that the thing worked. (If pigs could fly.) But the
real genius of the Web was that - as an information space - it got greedy
and subsumed other information spaces (ftp, gopher, mailto, etc, etc). For
my money the _real_ genius of the Web is URI - not HTTP.

As an information space - rather than as a shopping mall - I will continue
to hold out for URI to succeed. If you're happy enough with eBay and Amazon,
and Google does that thing for you, then I'd recommend closing out on HTTP,
and say goodbye to the rest.



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alf Eaton []
> Sent: 20 November 2005 21:27
> To:
> Subject: Re: infoURI standard officially blessed
> On 15 Nov 2005, at 08:51, Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
> > Alf Eaton wrote:
> >> Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
> >>> I'd much rather invest on automatically dereferenceable URIs now
> >>> and avoid paying the discoverability price (not only the
> >>> technical one but also the social one!) later on.
> >> Stefano,
> >> Just as example, which dereferenceable URI would you use for the
> >> book "The History of Love", ISBN 0393060349, so that everybody
> >> would be able to use that URI as an identifier for that book?
> >
> >
> I was thinking about this again today, while reading Tim Berners-
> Lee's essay "What do HTTP URI's identify?" <
> DesignIssues/HTTP-URI.html>. Now, I don't know if he still stands by
> this point of view, but his point as I understand it is that HTTP
> URIs are designed to identify documents, rather than abstract (or
> physical) concepts - one conclusion being "the idea that a URI
> identifies the thing the document is about doesn't work because we
> can only use a URI to identify one thing and we have and already do
> use it to identify documents on the web.". This is also what I like
> about info URIs, where, for example, uri:info:pmid/16286011
> identifies the abstract concept of a particular scientific paper,
> rather than
> cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16286011 which
> produces a document with information *about* the paper.
> That particular example is complicated by DOIs, where http://
> can produce a representation of the paper
> which is in fact the same thing represented by uri:info:doi/example/
> 1111111, but this only works for examples where the object being
> referenced is available in its entirety in a digital form. It
> doesn't
> work for cars, for example (as in Tim BL's example), or holiday
> resorts, or restaurants. In those cases, it seems more
> appropriate to
> use an identifier which *isn't* HTTP.
> In your example above, points to a
> document *about* the book, but it doesn't point to the book itself.
> alf.

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Received on Mon Nov 21 2005 - 11:08:12 EST

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