Re: date in URN

Peter Deutsch (
Fri, 23 Jun 1995 10:09:17 -0400

Message-Id: <>
From: Peter Deutsch <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 1995 10:09:17 -0400
In-Reply-To: Michael Shapiro's message as of Jun 22,  8:49
Subject: Re: date in URN

Larry Masinter wrote:
|>The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that if URNs are to be as
|>persistent as possible, that they should be numeric (or alphanumeric codes
|>like the LoC numbers or British/Canadian postal code system).  If you use
|>human-readable names like "proper" or "ibm" people will get emotional and/or
|>possessive about them, making it much harder to prevent the URNs containing
|>them from changing over time.

My first reaction to this was "eeew", but on reflection
the argument that humans get attached to such things and
this might cause problems carries a lot of weight. Still,
I do still think we need to make these more human-friendly
than URLs.

What we're currently doing in Silk for our headlines (the
URN-like results lists generated by URAs) is to have an
internal structure which contains a human readible string
(generated by the URA using a variety of techniques,
including filtering HTML for HREFs, etc) and an
accompanying URL. In addition, we've also added a
placeholder for IETF URNs which will be filled in by any
URN supplied by the net, once they start to arrive.
Comparison (remember comparison?  Some of us still think
that being able to compare URNs is going to be vital) will
be done on that URN, not the displayable string, but
allowing both lets us maintain a usable human interface.

				- peterd


  ...there is reason to hope that the machines will use us kindly, for
  their existance will be in a great measure dependent on ours; they will
  rule us with a rod of iron, but they will not eat us...

                                               - Samuel Butler, 1872