Re: URL: Background and Requirements

From: Warner ten Kate (
Date: Wed, Nov 04 1998

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 04 Nov 1998 18:16:58 +0100
From: Warner ten Kate <>
Subject: Re: URL: Background and Requirements

Craig A. Finseth wrote:
>         ...
>    I'm not sure I understand your point about changing the term URL to URI. As
>    I understand it, the key difference between a URI and a URL is that a URI
>    is just an identifier of a resource, whereas a URL is a URI which actually
>    allows the location of the resource to be determined. Perhaps I am not
>    understanding this correctly.
>         ...
> This is mostly correct.
> If it helps, think of URIs like, for example, a book's ISBN.  A URL
> would be a pointer to a bookstore/library for obtaining a copy of the
> book.

To my understanding the following is the truth:
Both the ISBN as the book shelf are an URI.
The ISBN is an URN; the book shelf is an URL.

> In theory, everything that we (i.e., the web) are doing with URLs
> should reallybe done with URIs.  Unfortunately, URLs were "good
> enough" so that URIs never took off as they should have.

As URLs are URI (viz, a subset) 'we' are doing with URIs.
We could do more, however. Maybe not needed, as you suggest.

> Since we are talking about what is required to actually locate
> something, URL is the appropriate term here.

We want to locate something, and we want to use URIs for that.
It is very likely that the solution is an URL.
To me, the first line reflects our requirement; the second 
meets that requirement.

> Craig