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Friday, February 15, 2008

New Draft for W3C Architectural Recommendation "The Self-Describing Web"

A new draft of the TAG Finding on "The Self-Describing Web" is now
available as an editor's draft. "Significant changes in this rewrite
include: (1) A major new section introduces and highlights the standard
HTTP-based retrieval "algorithm" that user agents employ to access
self-describing resource representations. (2) There is now extensive
discussion of URI-based extensibility, and of the ability of user agents
to dynamically acquire rules for interpreting new sorts of content by
retrieving OWL ontologies, namespace documents (RDDL), etc. Such dynamic
discovery using URIs is now to some degree a unifying theme for the
latter half of the finding. Examples are also given of using URIs as
the basis for extensible attribute values (e.g. link relationships) and
other similar data fields in Web representations. (3) The discussion of
RDF and RDFa has been updated and clarified and the section on GRDDL has
been added. (4) Numerous examples have been added." Document Abstract:
"The Web is designed to support flexible exploration of information, by
human users and by automated agents. For such exploration to be productive,
information published by many different sources and for a variety of
purposes must be comprehensible to a wide range of Web client software.
HTTP and other Web technologies can be used to deploy resources that
are self-describing, in the sense that only widely available information
is necessary for understanding them. Starting with a URI, there is a
standard algorithm that a user agent can apply to retrieve and interpret
a representation of such resources. Furthermore, when such self-describing
resources are linked together, the Web as a whole can support reliable,
ad hoc discovery of information. This finding describes how document
formats, markup conventions, attribute values, and other data formats
can be designed to facilitate the deployment of self-describing Web

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