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Re: URL Expansion proposal

From: Daniel W. Connolly <connolly@beach.w3.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 17:05:54 -0500
Message-Id: <m0tbx2I-0002RmC@beach.w3.org>
To: "Dale Dougherty" <dale@ora.com>
Cc: idelrio@abstraction.com (Israel del Rio), www-talk@w3.org
In message <9601150000.ZM-79881@emerald>, "Dale Dougherty" writes:
>Israel raises a useful problem to solve.  URLs were
>never intended to be what they've become: an arcane
>way for a user to identify a site on the Web.

To some extent, I agree. They were originally called "document
addresses." You certainly don't have to know ESPN's postal address to
find them on the television.

In stead, you look at the little key on your cable box. It's
a little directory service.

We need good directory services. Yahoo is pretty good, but it's kinda
centralized (administratively, at least.) The www.company.com is an
attempt to use DNS (a name service) as a directory service.

While name services and directory services have quite a bit in common,
the engineering trade-offs used to optimize them are very
different. The assumptions are different too: in a name service,
you're expected to know the name, and each entry in the service is
expected to have a distinct name. In a directory service, you're
expected to know a few things, but not necessarily _the_ distinguished
name for an item.

My notes on the subject are at:

   MetaData: Web Catalogs and Knowledge Bases

>Unfortunately, we've never been able to standardize
>URNs, which would give us a more useful naming system.

Hmm... I disagree with that characterization of the situation.
It wasn't a failure to standardize on a viable technology,
but rather a failure to invent (or recognize) a viable technology.

   Link Reliability: URNs are Not the Answer


   URNs will play an important role in publishing on the web (along with
   copyright enforcement mechanisms, payment mechanisms, etc.) but I
   doubt they will increase reliability (or quality of service) for the
   vast majority of web links, because URNs will impose administrative
   overhead (e.g. registration, digital signatures), or at least
   work-flow restrictions (e.g. once you've made a document available
   under a URN, you can never change it). (see [STANF] for an excellent

Received on Monday, 15 January 1996 17:06:25 UTC

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