Web Resource Identity

David Brownell david-b at pacbell.net
Mon Jun 21 22:58:31 BST 1999

Paul Prescod wrote:
> Jerome McDonough wrote:
> >
> >Two different
> > URNs may refer to the same abstract work, and retrieve the same or different
> > physical manifestations depending on the work identified, context of the
> > resolver,
> > etc.  When you have two URNs identifying an abstract concept, I don't see
> > how you can reliably determine computationally that they both identify the
> > same thing.
> Why can't you just ask the server? "I've got these two URNs. What's the
> Unique ID of the thing that they refer to?"

You're assuming there's a workable notion of extrinsic identity,
which has never been achieved (for all that the notion appears to
be simple and desirable).  There are too many nuances to "identity".

Tossing another monkey wrench in the soup ... what about agents
on the network who are trying to deceive you to make you act in
some particular way?  The web clearly has such agents.  What's
the consequence of asking such a question of such an agent, and
acting on its incorrect answer?  (Or acting on such an incorrect
answer even in the face of an honest human mistake, or some sort
of system fault?)

- Dave

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