Web Resource Identity

Jerome McDonough jmcdonou at library.berkeley.edu
Fri May 28 21:34:09 BST 1999

At 01:01 PM 6/28/1999 -0500, Paul Prescod wrote:
>Jerome McDonough wrote:
>>Two different
>> URNs may refer to the same abstract work, and retrieve the same or
>> 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?"

Well, you've already got two unique identifiers for an abstract work.  For
a server
to know whether or not those identifiers identify the *same* abstract work,
either someone's going to have to established a linking database somewhere 
mapping the two together (not a requirement of any of the URN architecture
proposals and shouldn't be) or your server is going to have to see what
the identifiers resolve to, and try to make a determination based on that
whether the URNs identify the same thing.  But relying on the latter is truly
ugly and unreliable.  And I honestly don't anticipate too many people going
to the effort of the former.

Jerome McDonough -- jmcdonou at library.Berkeley.EDU  |  (......)
Library Systems Office, 386 Doe, U.C. Berkeley     |  \ *  * /
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000    (510) 642-5168          |  \  <>  /
"Well, it looks easy enough...."                   |   \ -- /  SGNORMPF!!!
         -- From the Famous Last Words file        |    ||||

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