The whole thing

The Architecture of the World Wide Web, First Edition was just issued as a W3C recommendation. I love that title — it reminds me of Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”, volume one.

Interesting bit about URIs in the document. To address the ‘resource as something on the web’ as compared to ‘resource as something that can be discussed on the web’ issue, the document describes a resource thusly:

By design a URI identifies one resource. We do not limit the scope of what might be a resource. The term “resource” is used in a general sense for whatever might be identified by a URI. It is conventional on the hypertext Web to describe Web pages, images, product catalogs, etc. as “resources”?. The distinguishing characteristic of these resources is that all of their essential characteristics can be conveyed in a message. We identify this set as “information resources”.

This document is an example of an information resource. It consists of words and punctuation symbols and graphics and other artifacts that can be encoded, with varying degrees of fidelity, into a sequence of bits. There is nothing about the essential information content of this document that cannot in principle be transfered in a representation.

However, our use of the term resource is intentionally more broad. Other things, such as cars and dogs (and, if you’ve printed this document on physical sheets of paper, the artifact that you are holding in your hand), are resources too. They are not information resources, however, because their essence is not information. Although it is possible to describe a great many things about a car or a dog in a sequence of bits, the sum of those things will invariably be an approximation of the essential character of the resource.

The document then gets into URI collision:

By design, a URI identifies one resource. Using the same URI to directly identify different resources produces a URI collision. Collision often imposes a cost in communication due to the effort required to resolve ambiguities.

Suppose, for example, that one organization makes use of a URI to refer to the movie The Sting, and another organization uses the same URI to refer to a discussion forum about The Sting. To a third party, aware of both organizations, this collision creates confusion about what the URI identifies, undermining the value of the URI. If one wanted to talk about the creation date of the resource identified by the URI, for instance, it would not be clear whether this meant “when the movie was created” or “when the discussion forum about the movie was created.”

Social and technical solutions have been devised to help avoid URI collision. However, the success or failure of these different approaches depends on the extent to which there is consensus in the Internet community on abiding by the defining specifications.


Bloghost blogs

Elaine just posted a note at IT Kitchen that Bloghosts has failed, perhaps because of some form of deliberate manipulation.

If you’re a Bloghosts blogger, and you’re adrift right now, feel free to use the Kitchen weblog as a way of letting people know where you’ve moved, or to let people know what’s happening with you until you get a new home.

P.S. If you can help a Bloghosts blogger move, or find a new home, please put a note either at the Kitchen Wiki, or the Kitchen weblog.

Christine at Big Pink Cookie passes along an offer of a home at Blogomania, with the first month free to Bloghosts webloggers, to help in transition.


Kitchen reading

Aha, a new cable modem and I am back among the continuously wired and co-dependent for another couple of weeks.

Don has written a couple of wonderful weblog posts about blogging gardeners: on the raft and Staying True. In Staying True, he wrote:

Genre blogs do not display the arc of a good long novel, or a series of tightly written and well-thought arguments. They are notes from a corner, maybe a small corner, maybe a big one. My own sense is that this little golden age of blogging won’t last—that new technology will come along making us radio bloggers or tv/film bloggers to the extent that we lose this odd, populist outburst of the written word.

I hope not. I sincerely hope not. It is odd, though, that those who are weblogging’s most ardent supporters are also the ones that seem to want to destroy that which is unique about this medium. I guess there are those who want to carve their names into history, and those who are content just to scratch their initials into dirt.