Re: Globalizing URIs

Roy Fielding (
Fri, 11 Aug 1995 19:18:46 -0400

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Globalizing URIs 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Fri, 11 Aug 1995 21:32:42 BST."
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 19:18:46 -0400
From: Roy Fielding <>

>OK, so URLs as currently defined let you use words which unwitting 
>service providers and users can inadvertantly attach semantic meanings 
>in languages that can be expressed in ASCII.  Thus we blew it (or rather 
>it was already blown for us; the IETF URLs sprang out of what the WWW people 
>had already got going).  URLs are out there now and people are going to 
>carry on doing what they're already doing.  I'm afraid we're stuck with 
>URLs and all the attendant transcribability problems and (now) character 
>set problems.
>Lets not blow it again for URNs then, eh?

I'd just like to point out that most of this discussion is ignoring
the fact that the transcribability of URLs is one of the main reasons
the WWW has been successful in building an information base.  Although
it may now be possible to add persistent naming to that base, it would
not have been possible to create such a base with non-transcribable names.

Which of the following would you want on your business card?


With a large information base, we can now justify the cost of name
resolvers and query-based address finders (the latter is necessary
if you want to find someone by the other information on the card).

OTOH, anyone who thinks people will stop using URLs just because a URN
exists has failed to study the users of this technology.

 ....Roy T. Fielding  Department of ICS, University of California, Irvine USA
                      Visiting Scholar, MIT/LCS + World-Wide Web Consortium
                      (                (