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Re: DOI and the non-IETF tree

From: Michael Mealling <michael@neonym.net>
Date: 12 Sep 2003 17:58:52 -0400
To: Larry Lannom <llannom@cnri.reston.va.us>
Cc: "Daniel R. Tobias" <dan@tobias.name>, uri@w3.org
Message-Id: <1063403931.6800.97.camel@blackdell.neonym.net>

On Fri, 2003-09-12 at 16:56, Larry Lannom wrote:
> I don't want to take up too much list space with this, but I do feel 
> that I have to respond to a few points:
> o I wonder if I'm being confused with someone else. I joined CNRI in 
> the fall of 1996 and my knowledge of the development of URN is all 
> second hand and not particularly detailed.

Looking back at my history some of the original discussions in '94 were
with Bill Arms. But I visited CNRI once and had numerous discussions at 
IETF meetings where we discussed all of this with you and Sam. One of
the topics that I thought we had cleared up was that the DDDS method of
resolution is not, has never been, and will never be a required method
of resolution for URNs. Specifically, RFC 2141 never mentions any
particular resolution mechanism and indeed never mentions any
requirement that there ever be one.

> o DOI and handle are not synonymous. The DOI per se does come out of 
> the handle system namespace and the default resolution mechanism is the 
> handle system, but DOI has its own set of requirements, metadata rules, 
> etc. and if it wished could at some point use some other resolution 
> mechanisms. The reverse is also true -- there are applications of the 
> handle system other than DOI. The most recent notable effort is the 
> DSpace project out of MIT/HP.

In that case, 'urn:doi' makes so much exact perfect sense that it
requires extremely tortuous logic to come up with any objections at all.

> o I can't speak for others, but I am not being disingenuous. I can 
> assure you that the DOI community and the various handle system users 
> are not alone in wondering which way to go with the various url/urn/uri 
> questions. In terms of the handle system, we are on what we consider to 
> be a logical path and in front of any kind of IETF id registration is 
> the complete specification of the system itself in the form of 
> informational RFCs. You may have received different impressions over 
> the years from other people at CNRI, but any course changes were due to 
> our own indecision, not to any grand Machiavelian schemes.

Many of us were promised, on several occasions, by both Sam and yourself
that a URN registration document would be forthcoming. Each time you had
objections you were shown that those objections were incorrect and that
indeed, a URN namespace would be the best slot for DOIs. With the
exception of that age old "http is the only scheme anyone ever needs"
issue, there has always been consensus that DOIs (actually, anything
that uses the Handle namespace) should have always been a URN namespace.
Indeed URNs were designed specifically for handles from the very

I've reviewed all of the objections raised by CNRI and the Foundation
and invariably they're either wrong or they take a mild suggestion found
in the RFC 2141 document and turn it into some uber-MUST. In my
experience when someone interprets documents in such a tortuous and
illogical manner it usually means there are other motivations. I would
like to be proven wrong but so far I haven't....

We could put this entire thread and issue to bed with one simple
document that would probably take less than a month to run through the
process. What is so damning about a URN namespace that is forcing you
guys to postpone incorporating DOIs and Handles into the infrastructure?
What could be worth this much typing?

Received on Friday, 12 September 2003 18:03:35 UTC

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