Both RDF and Web browsers use URIrefs to identify things. However, RDF and browsers interpret URIrefs in slightly different ways. This is because RDF uses URIrefs only to identify things, while browsers also use URIrefs to retrieve things. Often there is no effective difference, but in some cases the difference can be significant. One obvious difference is that when a URIref is used in a browser, there is the expectation that it identifies a resource that can actually be retrieved: that something is actually "at" the location identified by the URI. However, in RDF a URIref may be used to identify something, such as a person, that cannot be retrieved on the Web. People sometimes use RDF together with a convention that, when a URIref is used to identify an RDF resource, a page containing descriptive information about that resource will be placed on the Web "at" that URI, so that the URIref can be used in a browser to retrieve that information. This can be a useful convention in some circumstances, although it creates a difficulty in distinguishing the identity of the original resource from the identity of the Web page describing it (a subject discussed further in Section 2.3). However, this convention is not an explicit part of the definition of RDF, and RDF itself does not assume that a URIref identifies something that can be retrieved.

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A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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