Oh where oh where can my baby be? The lord took her away from me! She's gone to heaven so I've got to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world. Alternately: Oh where oh where can my baby be? Oh look here's a URL!
Tim Berners-Lee’s idea of linked data is kind of infecting my mind. I have smaller, more immediate goals in mind, though: I want to link data in my system to other data on my system. That is, stuff that’s directly on my computer, not just on the internet.
Wikis have gone a long way towards solving some of my problems, as have a number of the Gnome tools. The Tomboy TODO lists, gnome-terminal, etc. all have superb handling of URLs / URIs. I can click, click-and-drag, and generally type in links not only to web addresses, enabling me to uniquely point to where related information is kept, but also allows me to point to SMB shares, as well as my own machine to look at files I’ve got which embiggen the related information. Alongside a couple of other nifty searchy thingies in firefox, I can get to information in my company, and my computer, pretty quickly.
There are a couple of problems in my road to linking my data, though. The first is the biggest, not because it’s particularly heinous in it’s non-linkability, but mainly because it’s so widely used: email. I can’t link to an email I’ve got. I want to be able to click a button in an arbitrary application and get to the email I’m referring to. I know I can do this, because after searching using beagle, I can get to my email by double-clicking it in the beagle window. It even gives me a URI for it. However, unless I get to the email through beagle, there’s no way of getting to my email. Interestingly, I cannot get to beagle queries using a URI, but beagle does have a web front-end, which you can use links to refer to.
Anything that’s not just a file in your system should be easily reference-able by a URI. Otherwise it makes my life suck a little.