Re: WWW goals: xref and.. non-duplication?

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From: Roy T. Fielding (fielding@kiwi.ICS.UCI.EDU)
Date: Wed May 31 2000 - 18:25:07 PDT

>The other one I recall is the ability to pull data from
>multiple sources into a single seamless presentation,
>such as by using IMG tags to pull graphics from other/multiple
>sites into the rendered display. Here's the part I'm not
>sure about: was, or was not, this intended (at least in part)
>to reduce duplication? Allowing diverse hosts to access
>a single central data collection rather than having to
>duplicate it?
>Someone once challenged me that such was never an intention
>nor a goal of the whole WWW evolution.. but I'm *sure* I
>read it somewhere, round about 1993..

Perhaps in my paper on MOMspider for the first WWW conference [1]:

   In a world of information, most of the best sources are maintained at
   sites other than the author of a particular infostructure. Furthermore,
   such information is rarely static, consisting of living documents
   maintained by the owner (usually, but not necessarily, the original
   document author) at those distributed sites. Rather than copy the
   contents, the WWW enables infostructures to be composed simply
   by referencing the desired object's URL within the guiding text of any
   HTML document. In addition to providing document reuse, this
   allows new routes of navigation to be developed by the consumers of
   that information, independent of the design considerations of existing

No one person can claim that they own the "intention" behind the Web's
evolution. But what I wrote above was one of my goals, and I can claim
to have evolved some parts of the Web, so I think you won that challenge.

And, if that's not enough to prove the point, the following is a
quote from one of the first papers on the Web's design [2]:

  Features to note are:

    o Information need only be represented once, as a reference
      may be made instead of a copy;


Yep, that's right -- the very first feature mentioned.


    Roy T. Fielding. Maintaining Distributed Hypertext Infostructures:
    Welcome to MOMspider's Web. Computer Networks and ISDN Systems, 27(2),
    November 1994.

[2] Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, Jean-Francois Groff, Bernd Pollerman.
    World-Wide Web: The Information Universe. Electronic Networking:
    Research, Applications and Policy, Vol. 1, No. 2, Meckler, Westport CT,
    Spring 1992.

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