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   Web Resource Identity

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
  • Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 12:59:35 -0400 (EDT)

Paul Prescod writes:

 > In the HyTime and object oriented worlds, I believe that the
 > defining characteristic of things with identity is that you can
 > take two references and determine if they refer to the same object.

But you cannot always take two references and determine if they do
*not* refer to the same object -- that depends on the design.

 > I do not see how to do this on the Web. Consider the following URLs:
 > http://www.mitre.org/index.html
 > http://www.mitre.org/
 > http://www.mitre.org
 > Do they refer to the same resource? Let's try the answer both ways:

You left out the Scotch verdict, "not proven".


 > I believe that the Web needs a concept of a canonical URL, if it doesn't
 > already have one. Retrieving a document or the HEAD for the document
 > should describe the canonical URL. I wouldn't mind if the canonical URL
 > was a totally unreadable UUID as long as I can take two URLs and figure
 > out whether they refer to two things that happen to have the same content
 > or actually refer to the SAME THING.

Sounds like a simple enough extension to HTTP.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com

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