Re: [ietf-types] Update on the pending registration of text/n3

Ned Freed <> Wed, 26 January 2011 06:58 UTC

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Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:29:14 -0800
From: Ned Freed <>
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To: Nathan <>
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Cc: Tim Berners-Lee <>, ietf-types <>
Subject: Re: [ietf-types] Update on the pending registration of text/n3
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> I've been asked to find out about the registration of the 'text/n3'
> media type, relating to Notation3 [1,2]. To quote from the annotated
> design issue [2]:

First and foremost, the lack of an explicit facet in the name means this is a
standards tree registration (which certainly seems appropriate for this type).
Standards tree registrations are supposed to be reviewed on this list, but
approval of them is the province of the IESG. (See RFC 4288 section 5 for
details.) So the appropriate thing to do is (1) Post the media type
registration form to this list for review, (2) Deal with any review comments,
and (3) Submit the registration to the IESG for final review and approval.

>    """The type application/n3 was applied for in 2002 and again in
> 2006. The IETF-W3C liaison meeting established that the mime type
> would be formally awarded when the N3 specification was in a
> 'published' form. In the mean time, it should be used as part of the
> point of N3 is to be human readable, and so the text tree is
> indicated.

I note that there appears to be a contradiction here - the type is named
application/n3 but this then talks about it being text/n3.

In any case, I will point out that the text tree has restrictions besides being
"human readable" - specifically, there's a requirment that line breaks be
represented by CRLF sequences that precludes the use of charsets like UTF-16. I
don't know if this is an issue for this type or not, but if it is you're better
off staying in the application tree.

> The application for text/rdf+n3 with the IANA registry is
> pending as of 2006-02 as IANA #5004. There was an agreement to change
> it to text/n3 as the rdf+ idea met with significant criticism.

In regards to the "pending" registration, it appears to have been submitted to
IANA on 30-Jan-2006 (for text/rdf+n3). It was forwarded to me for review on
3-Mar-2006. I responded on 6-Mar-2006 saying that (a) Since this is a standards
tree registration it needed to go to the IESG and (b) The fact that no security
considerations were provided was unlikely to be acceptable to the IESG. I
assume that IANA responded with my comments to the submitter at that time. I
don't know if IANA then closed the request, but if they didn't they should have
since IANA cannot register types in the standards tree.

I note that tHere may also be an issue with the + - we reserve +suffixes as a
indicator that the type is in a particular format, e.g. +xml. I don't know if
n3 qualifies in this fashion. That said, there would be no problem from a
process perspective using rdf-n3. Whether that's more appropriate than n3 is
really the W3C's call to make.

> While
> registration is pending, applications should use the proposed type in
> anticipation of registration, not an x- type."""

Always a good idea.

> The specification is now 'solid', and has been for a considerable
> time, further:


> - There are many implementations which have been made over the 10 years
> - There is a significant amount of Notation3 data available on the web
> and in use
> - There is significant reluctance to further deploy Notation3 data
> based PURELY on the lack of MIME registration.

Then let's by all means get the registration done.

> - There is still a lot of confusion as to what the content-type is (as
> no media type is registered)
> - There is no entry in the default Apache mime.types file, so serving
> and negotiating these files is more difficult.

> Consequently, can you give either myself or Tim Berners-Lee (cc-d) an
> update on the pending application, or inform us as to the best course
> of action in order to get the 'text/n3' media type registered in a
> timely fashion.

See above for my recomendations as to the next steps to take.

> Best,

> Nathan

> [1]
> [2]