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Re: Excess URI schemes considered harmful

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 21:53:28 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Cc: uri@w3.org
At 04:01 PM 9/25/01 -0400, Mark Baker wrote:
> > IMHO, urn:ietf:params:media-type:text-plain
> >
> > is much better....
>But what if the IETF cedes control of this registry to some other
>body?  Then that URN would break too.  How is this any different
>than with an URL?

I know I'm out of step with some W3C received wisdom on this, but I believe 
the difference is this:  the urn: form carries a clear and unmistakable 
indication that this name is *intended* to be persistent and permanent, 
usable as a basis for information exchange at any arbitrary time in the future.

I understand the philosophy of "cool URIs don't change", and the fact that 
stability is a social problem rather than a technical problem.  I think 
that having a form of name that carries a clear signal of intent, and whose 
allocation is subject to some degree of consensus process, is a helpful 
element in cementing the social protocols needed to ensure that identifier 
persistence is actually achieved.

Finally, I'll note that I have tried to create a portion of stable URI 
space for persistent identifiers within my company's http: space.  See 
http://id.mimesweeper.com/.  So far, I've sort-of succeeded, but I've no 
great confidence that the identifier persistence will be locked in for all 
time.  Within many company organizations, control of the http: URI space is 
with the web masters, who themselves are part of the product marketing 
group.  The URIs are perceived as simply a way to get to the web pages, and 
are subject to change every time the web site is re-organized or the 
product marketing strategy is reviewed.  In general, these people just 
don't care that a stable URI is a fundamental element of web architecture, 
and will have little patience for some apparently arbitrary rule that 
impedes them from doing their job.


Graham Klyne
Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2001 17:14:10 UTC

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