W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > November 1999

RE: UR* schemes [was: 3rd IETF/W3C coordination call...]

From: Daniel LaLiberte <liberte@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 16:26:17 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <14387.7545.684287.76185@alceste.w3.org>
To: "Larry Masinter" <lmm@acm.org>
Cc: "Keith Moore" <moore@cs.utk.edu>, "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org>, "Patrik Fältström" <paf@swip.net>, "Philipp Hoschka" <ph@w3.org>, <w3t-arch@w3.org>, <t-and-s@w3.org>, <w3c-policy@apps.ietf.org>
Cc: uri@w3.org
 > >... but we should avoid introducing a new central registry unless
 > > > we must. 

Larry Masinter writes:
 > N central registries is not worse than 1 central registry, and is
 > often better, as an organizational principle. The only problem is
 > when the N central registries are maintained in different places,
 > but that isn't the case here.

One thing I like about Larry is he often comes up with novel ways of
thinking about things that may knock us out of the usual ruts.

But I don't quite understand what the problem is with maintaining N
central registries in different places, or why that doesn't apply here.

The duplication of services across registries (registration, resolution,
conflict detection and avoidance, etc) is an overhead for society, but
if people are willing to run yet another registry service, then why not?

Policies across registries can be inconsistent, but 
it also means registries can compete, which can be healthy.

I believe Tim's argument against more central registries is that it
would be even better to have no central registries.  We have one central
registry, DNS, and that should be enough.  We have problems enough with
that one registry.

If all registries could use full unrestricted URIs instead of inventing
yet another namespace, then not only do we avoid the need for a new
global namespace/registry, but we give people unrestricted freedom to
extend whatever it is that would have required a restricted namespace.
That seems good, but sometimes it is better to to have restricted

 > As long as we're going to have URL schemes (which seems unavoidable),
 > there's no harm in having URN schemes too. (As long
 > as we're going to have MIME types, there's no harm in having
 > media features too.)

Sure, but do URNs really offer anything new, or is it only an illusion
of something new?

 > Consider them a conjoined, bilevel, hierarchically-organized,
 > single registry, if "introducing a new central registry" seems
 > bad to you.

In a sense, every "directory" at every web site is a registry controlled
by the owner of that directory.  But anyone can now publish documents
merely by putting up their own web site, at very low cost, so we have
less need to get someone else's permission.  Curiously, we continue to
think in centralized ways.

I think we should continue this on the uri@w3.org list, so drop the CCs
if you reply.

Daniel LaLiberte
Received on Wednesday, 17 November 1999 16:26:29 UTC

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