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SGML also cleanly stated that a PUBLIC ID did not
have to be resolvable. It is a useful name (really,
a compound) but that a system ID does. URI/URN/URL
conflates these and while that can be useful as well,
it isn't as clean or as clear. It is a case where
ease at one level makes confusion at the next.
The most practical use for the Semantic Web is
to get a machines' opinion. It's an intelligent
tutoring system writ big.
From: Joe English [mailto:email@example.com]
Although I still believe the URL vs. URN distinction is
a useful one, it seems that even if you publish a URI that's
intended to be used only as a Locator, somebody else is going
to come along later and use it as a Name.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the question of "how
to process a URI" might be as meaningless as the question of
"how to process an XML document". SGML gained most of its utility
by divorcing processing expectations from the markup; perhaps
the URI philosophy will enable more of the same.