Post details: Meeting Summary – 19 March 2007

Monday, March 19th 2007

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Meeting Summary – 19 March 2007

The meeting welcomed Jonathan Dugan, technical consultant at Stanford University and head of Matson Systems (www.matsonsystems.com). Jonathan brings a different perspective on the potential uses of POWDER unrelated to things like trustmarks and child protection which proves the flexibility and applicability of the technology. Good! The group looked at the recently added "History of the group" document at [1]. In particular at the strawman of Description Resources. There was a discussion over whether support for UAStrings as a condition in resource grouping broke the One Web ideal, i.e. if the metadata changed depending which device you used to access a URI, does this break the Web? Since the main intent of the One Web philosophy is to deliver content where its intended use has been maintained, irrespective of the requesting device, the usage of UAString would not be detrimental. In fact it would aid it, by making it possible to serve the request in a more device oriented fashion. For example, if a resource allows you to alter the font size but the device accessing it doesn't, then claiming that the text can be read at varying font sizes clearly isn't true. Therefore, it was decided that support for returning different descriptions based on the UAstring was acceptable (it had been proposed in the charter review period). Since DRs are wholly dependent on the grouping of resources, it was RESOLVED to begin work on the grouping document first. Work will begin on this as soon as possible. We then began to go through the open questions raised in the XGR. Open Question 1: "It is an open question whether there may be a requirement for some forms of cLabel that involve editing those resources." [2] This was discussed at length. Should we describe how to embed DRs in HTML? Video? (which format?) There is no closed list of resource types in which it may be desirable to embed a DR. Further, the essence of Description Resources is that they can describe many resources at once. There are well established methods of including metadata in resources. RDFa provides a method of including RDF triples in HTML docs. Many, if not all, online resources can include links to data and if that data needs to describe a particular resource and show that it has not changed since it was described, a hash can be used. It was also noted that processing RDFa requires more steps than following a link to external RDF and processing that. As a result it was RESOLVED "No - not a requirement." Open Question 2: Should WCL-XG be successful in securing a WG charter, the abstract model for resource grouping will itself come under full scrutiny with a view to its publication either as a WG Note or a full Recommendation in its own right.[3] It has already been resolved that the Working Group will begin work on the grouping document. Open Question 3: The mechanism for exposing properties of resources should by preference be both standard and be cLabel based. However, the precise workings of this have not been examined and are for further study [4]. This was not resolved by the end of the meeting and will be discussed again next time, however, the mood seems to be that POWDER should concentrate on providing a grouping mechanism based on pattern matching against URIs with support for explicit listing, and not concern itself with group definition by properties. The desire is to be able to describe resources without having to fetch them and have a look at them! However, POWDER should support the making of assertions - that is, statements whose veracity can be checked by retrieving the resource itself. So one can make a statement such as "all the T-shirts in the drawer are blue", the veracity of which can really only be checked by opening the draw, removing a T-shirt and noting its colour. Although we wish to support assertions like this, we are primarily concerned with describing online resources, rather than real world objects, so there is a limit to the expressivity we need to support. To be continued. Finally we briefly discussed the possibility of a short press/open event in Washington D.C. in early July where the group would present its work and the potential of the technology. Again, this discussion will be continued.
Cédric Kiss

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