Graph depicting relationship of URI to resource to representation with resources highlighted.

A resource is an abstract asset that is distinct from other assets and that which can be assigned a name. A resource may be a tangible thing or class of things, an intangible thing like a concept or an idea, a right or a title, or a virtual thing like a mathematical function, a program, or an inert piece of digital information.

In the context of the Web, a resource is almost always an abstract piece of digital information which has been made accessible over a network, and which has either been previously stored, or is the result of a computation. Naturally, Web resources are identified by one or more HTTP or HTTPS URLs, and themselves encompass one or more representations.


There is an important distinction to make between a resource and a file: a resource can be seen as a level of indirection between the literal data contained in a file and a name associated with it. That is, the type of the resource can be conceptually distinct from the type of one of its potential representations, which itself can, but does not have to be stored as a file.

For example, a resource can be marked as an essay, which could be a specialization of the type prose document which itself could stem from the type document.