Paul has volunteered (was Re: Overloaded URIs must GO!)

James Tauber jtauber at
Sun May 30 05:10:58 BST 1999

> James said:
> When I proposed pretty much the same thing to TimBL at WWW8, he didn't
like [it],
> Rohit Khare didn't like [it] and RK said Roy Fielding wouldn't like it.
> Good luck, Paul :-)
> Didier says:
> What did all these guys wouldn't like:
> a) the usage of URN?
> b) the "hname" NID?

They just didn't seem to have a problem with the notion that a single URL
scheme would be used for both retrieving machine readable information and
for an irretrievable unique name.

I used the example of the XSLT namespace URI:

The URI above currently gives a 404. It is an irretrievable unique name.
Point to note at this stage: I don't have a problem with irretrievable
unique name URIs.

*However*, I asked TimBL why on earth use an http URI for this. He and Rohit
both chimed that, some time down the track, it will the URL for a document
describing the namespace.

I told them that my problem with that is that is then you have the *same*
URI being used for both the namespace itself and a document describing the

Both TimBL and Rohit (who invoked Roy Fielding's PhD thesis) said they
didn't see that there was any distinction that warranted different URIs.

It occurred to me that maybe namespaces were a bad example, so I used the
example from the RDF model and syntax REC of an http URL being used to
uniquely identify a person:

That URI can be used in RDF to uniquely identifier someone. You can make
assertions about that URI and thereby make assertions about the person.
Fine, I can buy that.

But is there a retrievable document at the end of that URL? If not, why use
an http scheme?
Ah, but there *will* be a document at the other end: something describing
the irretrievable resource to which the URI refers. But hang on, how then do
you distinguish between talking about the irretrievable resource (the
person) and the document *about* the resource. What would it mean to assert
the "Creator" of ? (Is it the creator of the
document about the person or the Creator Himself :-) ?)

I was arguing for a URI scheme that resembled http in it form but the was
not designed to be retrieved. I was agnostic as to the actual scheme
identifier but basically, "hname" is what I want.

I want to be able to use hname:// as my
irretrievable resource to avoid confusion as to what it is I'm talking about
when I make RDF assertions, etc.

Maybe I've just missed something. When TimBL, Rohit Khare and (by proxy) Roy
Fielding disagree with you on a URI matter, it is worth being nervous.


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