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Re: Normative vs. non-normative references

From: Steve Mathews <stevem2@compuserve.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 20:43:01 -0500 (EST)
To: "INTERNET:w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org" <w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <200201252040_MC3-EF55-8EF8@compuserve.com>
I suspect that the phrases normative and non-normative references are
coming from the formal standards body arena of ISO, IEC, ITU and so on.

In that environment a normative reference is used in order to incorporate
the effect if another standard into the one in hand.  The effect is broader
than just incorporating a definition or two - you can do that by taking a
definition and referring to its source.  For a formal standard there is a
conformance requirement, and the normative reference binds the conformance
as well as the text.

Non-normative references tend to be those which are therefore not formally
bound to the standard but are useful references.  They tend to be used
where it is not reasonable to try and bind the reference text to the
standard - it may not be a formal standard for instance and therefore
no-one can guarantee it is being maintained or that it has been checked or
has general consensus for acceptance and use and so on.

Since there are many standards fora, the terms may have different meanings
in different locales.

Kind regards

Steve Mathews
Received on Monday, 28 January 2002 09:34:43 UTC

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