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   URIs are simply names was: Re: [xml-dev] "Abstract" URIs

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Alaric Snell wrote:

> On Tuesday 12 February 2002 23:20, Paul Prescod wrote:
> > John Cowan wrote:
> > >...
> > >
> > > Not at all.  I said that I, as well as my home page, could be labeled
> > > with a URI.  But labeling me and my home page with the *same* URI
> > > leads to contradictions.  For example, the year of creation of my
> > > home page is 1998 or thereabouts, whereas *my* year of creation is
> > > 1958 or thereabouts.
> >
> > I would say that you are probably:
> >
> >  http://www.ccil.org/~cowan/
> >
> > and your home page is probably:
> >
> >  http://www.ccil.org/~cowan/index.html
> >
> > But if you do a GET on each of them you happen to get an identical
> > resource. Alternately you could simply choose not to reify your homepage
> > at all.
> I've just registered myself a URL. I am now
> more properly written as a labelled OID { iso(1) member-body(2) gb(826)
> national(0) eng-ltd(1) warhead(4062548) private(2) alaric(1) }. However,
> not resolveable because *I* am not connected to the Internet. I could have
> one that acts as a lame proxy containing data about me that I've uploaded,
> but that's not me!

Paul is entirely correct.

A URI is simply a name for a thing, whatever that thing may be. A name is
not the thing that it names, just as the string "Alaric Snell" is not you.
The concept of names was not invented yesterday, nor in 1991. The
relationship between names and the things they name has been formally worked
out in various logics etc. for centuries.

Since names are used to refer to the thing named, in common language the two
are often used interchangably. For example I might say, indeed above,
"Alaric Snell wrote:" or similarly "alaric@alaric-snell.com wrote:" and so
the URI is used as a rather mundane name to _refer_ to you, regardless of
whether you are connected to the Internet or not.

URIs are names. The point being made is that what they name is NOT the
literal series of characters returned by a GET, rather the URI names a
_resource_ which might be anything thing that has a name. What is returned
by a GET is simply a description of the actual resource (other wording is a
'representation of the resource').

URIs are names.

Jonathan (note new email address -- which refers to the same person as


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