On Linking Alternative Representations To Enable Discovery And Publishing

T. V. Raman

T. V. Raman, On Linking Alternative Representations To Enable Discovery And Publishing, World Wide Web Consortium, TAG Finding, November 2006.

Content creators wishing to publish multiple versions of a given resource on the Web face a number of questions with respect to how such URIs are created, published and discovered. Questions include given a resource http://example.com/ubiquity/ that can be delivered in a multiplicity of representations, how should one publish the relevant URIs to enable automatic discovery of these representations (AKA specific resources); and how does one ensure that the alternative relationship amongst these various representations is available in a machine readable form, and consequently discoverable; and here, multiple representations might include representations appropriate for different delivery contexts; alternative formats of the resource distinguished by Content-type; different versions of the resource e.g., either by language or date; and representations in different languages. This document explores the issues that arise in this context, and attempts to define best practices that help preserve the One Web while enabling content publishing to a multiplicity of delivery contexts; enable the creation of RESTful URIs that remain representation agnostic while delivering the correct end-user experience; enable automatic discovery of the available representations; and enable web crawlers discover the relationship between a given generic resource and the specific resources that correspond to its various alternatives. This will help search engines build better Web indices and avoid the need to index all available alternatives of a given resource.


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