When making references to or researching for certain documents online, an ongoing chore becomes making sure all of the links are still working. Sometimes an important creative work or academic paper gets moved from one server to another and once I have found this has happened (if I find this has happened), I must use various search engines and linking documents to track down the current address. Sometimes a document simply gets removed and various papers I have written now have a hole where once I had supporting evidence.
Uniform Resource Locators seem to be creating as many problems for serious research as they are resolving. I am not really so concerned as to where a document is physically located, as being able to access the particular document at any time. How concerned are people of where someone is located when they call that person on their mobile phone? They simply want to speak with the individual, not take in the sights and sounds around where that individual happens to be. The URL needs to be replaced with the Uniform Resource Identifier, whereby a document is found by its name, not its location. Tim Berners-Lee in his article "The World Wide Web: Past, Present and Future" [BL96] mentions this problem and the fact that it's solution will be by no means a trivial task. However, it must be also noted that in fact Hyperwave does support such a structure for the users of that server system, which is used primarily in parts of Europe.
Copyright © 1999 Katherine Phelps