W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > August 2001

Re: URIs vs. URNs vs. URLs

From: John A. Kunze <jak@ckm.ucsf.edu>
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2001 11:16:19 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@ebuilt.com>
cc: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com>, <uri@w3.org>, <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.31.0108041039540.1476-100000@tweety.ckm.ucsf.edu>
> On Fri, 3 Aug 2001, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> ...  Persistence is not, and never has
> been, a function of the syntax used to create the name.

Exactly.  This is the sentiment that inspired the pragmatic approach
of the ARK naming scheme (Archival Resource Key),


which says:

   A founding principle of the ARK is that persistence is purely a
   matter of service.  Persistence is neither inherent in an object nor
   conferred on it by a particular naming syntax.  Rather, persistence
   is achieved through a provider's successful stewardship of objects
   and their identifiers.  The highest level of persistence will be
   reinforced by a provider's robust contingency, redundancy, and
   succession strategies.  It is further safeguarded to the extent that
   a provider's mission is shielded from marketplace and political

   The first requirement of an ARK is to give users a link from an
   object to a promise of stewardship for it.  That promise is a multi-
   faceted covenant that binds the word of an identified service
   provider to a specific set of responsibilities.  No one can tell if
   successful stewardship will take place because no one can predict the
   future.  Reasonable conjecture, however, may be based on past
   performance.  There must be a way to tie a promise of persistence to
   a provider's demonstrated or perceived ability -- its reputation --
   in that arena.  Provider reputations would then rise and fall as
   promises are observed variously to be kept and broken.  This is
   perhaps the best way we have for gauging the strength of any
   persistence promise.

In my not especially humble opinion, the ARK clears up many of the
issues that have bedeviled URNs.  If nothing else, I hope the ARK draft
will change the level of public debate on persistent identification.
I think people interested in URNs will find it worthwhile reading.

Received on Saturday, 4 August 2001 14:15:33 UTC

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