Comments on URIs, URLs, and URNs


I printed and read the URI clarification document [1] that
was published today. I have some questions about section 1 "URI
partitioning". I'm not a URI expert, so please forgive
what may be naive questions. However, as a naive reader, I
was expecting this type of information from this document.

If I have understood correctly, we are asked (in adopting the
contemporary view) to dispense with the necessary classification 
of a URI scheme as either a URL scheme or a URN scheme.  
Instead, we should think of URI schemes on their own, and we 
MAY classify certain of them (e.g., based on properties they share).
URI and URN are two examples of URI schemes that have been

What is not clear to me from the document is why I should
be interested in this new perspective. What can I do with my
newfound independence from the one-or-the-other view? Is it
simply that I should stop thinking about URLs and URNs 
all the time in association with URIs, and this will allow me
to come up with other interesting properties of some schemes)?
What other properties have people found useful in practice?
Sections 1.1 and 1.2 only talk about URNs and URLs, so
I didn't get a sense of other interesting directions. 

Why did people move from the classical view to the contemporary
view? What caused the change in viewpoint?

When I read the title "1.3 Confusion", I was expecting a
brief discussion of technical confusion - sources of
confusion that might make people have one view or another
or mix the two (or others). Instead, the section focuses
on inconsistencies among (or within) documents. Perhaps
the title should be adjusted so that readers don't
expect to find "Common sources of confusion around URIs."
I suspect that the latter topic will be explored in more
depth in a W3C Activity on URIs.


 - Ian


Ian Jacobs (
Tel:                     +1 718 260-9447

Received on Monday, 24 September 2001 17:32:51 UTC