Re: public/catalog [was: Re: ERB Decisions of March 26th]

Sam Hunting writes:
| > There should be *no default
| > assumed* by publishers.  That's hard to swallow, and most of 
| > this group is choking on it; ask yourselves whether you need
| > a specified default mechanism to find a copy of Moby Dick;
| > ask yourselves whether, had Melville's publisher specified a
| > default mechanism (e.g., writing to the publisher's address),
| > you should have to follow it today.

[I really don't want to replay all the URN discussions; the
URN-WG archive should be somewhere at bunyip.com, and the
current drafts are at ftp://ds.internic.net/internet-drafts/
under filenames beginning draft-ietf-urn ]

| When I ask myself the question, this is the answer:
| In the example cited ("Moby Dick"), there is a well-proven system in
| place, and both publishers and readers/buyers do indeed "follow it today."
| It has two essential components: they are called the "title page" and the
| "bibliography". 
| The edition of Moby Dick contains a "title page", which contains both an
| ISBN number (a unique identifier for the edition) and the bibliographical
| information neecssary to uniquely identify the work -- title, author,
| publisher, editor, date of publication, place of publication, etc. The
| title page is used by authors/editors to construct a bibliography, a
| mechanism users can employ to find "Moby Dick" at the library, the
| bookstore, or the online bookseller. 

The original edition had no ISBN.  But yes, given a reference to Moby
Dick you can find it *by any means you find useful*.  If you go to
your local bookseller and ask for a copy, he is not required by
antient custom to write a letter to the address of the original
publisher as it was at the time of publication, or even to have
on hand the quill pen, penny stamp, and original address he would
have used to order a copy when the book was first published. 

The catalogue mechanism can be recommended as a means user agents
might want to employ to determine what URL the publisher intends
his PI to resolve to *at the time of publication*.  User agents
will have to have some way of storing such hints, just as they
will have to have some way of storing update information for
catalogues.  But mandating support for catalogues (rather than 
recommending support for them as sets of URN hints) doesn't ensure 
that PIs can be resolved indefinately.  NOTHING CAN DO THAT.

Don't make a special case for PIs in the Internet world.  

Regards, Terry

  "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way."  - 3 Nephi 14:14