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

David Megginson david at
Mon May 31 16:11:58 BST 1999

Hunter, David writes:

 > > 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.
 > I agree with <em>this</em> too.  I'm in way over my head here... ;-)

The phone number for my business is 1-613-722-4697.  Let's say (for
the sake of argument) that my credit card number is 161 3722 4697, and
that my Social Insurance number is 1613 7224 697 (it wouldn't be,
because Canadian SIN's are only nine digits long, but just pretend).

Now, is there any problem with the fact that my business phone number,
my credit card number, and my SIN are digit-for-digit the same?

In principle, the same thing applies to using URLs as unique
identifiers -- I (should) always know whether I'm dealing with a link
or a namespace, so there should be no room for confusion: links point
to resources that can be retrieved, and namespace URIs do not.

Last year, while Namespaces were being designed, some people argued
(quite intelligently, as it turns out) that the REC should explicitly
state that there is nothing to be retrieved at the other end of a
Namespace URI; unfortunately, RDF does confuse the Namespace URI
(which cannot be retrieved) with the schema (which can be), so the
waters get unnecessarily muddy.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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