January 20, 2022

Updated Group Note From W3C: “Publishing and Linking on the Web”

An interesting read and educational resource that includes this useful hyperlinked glossary.

The document was updated yesterday and comes from the W3C Technical Architecture Group.

From the Abstract:

The Web borrows familiar concepts from physical media (e.g., the notion of a “page”) and overlays them on top of a networked infrastructure (the Internet) and digital presentation medium (browser software). This is a convenient abstraction, but when social or legal concepts and frameworks relating documents, publishing and speech are applied to the Web, the analogies often do not suffice. Publishing a page on the Web is fundamentally different from printing and distributing a page in a magazine or book.

Communication is often subject to governance: legislation, legal opinion, regulation, convention and contract; these are ways in which society looks to enforce norms, for example, around copyright, censorship, privacy and other areas. But there is often a mismatch between governance intended to apply to the Web (usually based on the analogy with physical media) and the technology and architecture used to create it.

One particular mismatch is the way in which publication can happen without any judgment or review by Web subsystems, with the process based on actions of end-users. For example, web intermediaries such as proxies, archives, search engines, or by content transformation services might be part of the publication pipeline. For the most part, such sub-systems cannot exercise the kinds of judgment needed, even if required to by governance.

This document is intended to inform future social and legal discussions of the Web by clarifying the ways in which the Web’s technical facilities operate to store, publish and retrieve information, and by providing definitions for terminology as used within the Web’s technical community. This document also describes the technical and operational impact that does or could result from legal constraints on publishing, linking and transformation on the Web.

Direct to Full Text: Publishing and Linking on the Web.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.