What to do with URLs in IETF docs? (was: RE: Citation bug in RFC 2425)

"Spencer Dawkins" <sdawkins@nortelnetworks.com> Sat, 30 October 1999 00:30 UTC

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From: Spencer Dawkins <sdawkins@nortelnetworks.com>
To: ietf@ietf.org
Subject: What to do with URLs in IETF docs? (was: RE: Citation bug in RFC 2425)
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 19:14:26 -0500
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In the middle of the I-D cutoff madness last week, as I was working on the
references section of two I-Ds, I wondered if I was doing the right thing by
including URLs for my references.

I'm thinking that URLs are useful in the reference sections of I-Ds. Most of
the references I was using were either RFCs or I-Ds that are likely to
become RFCs, so maybe these are OK when (if?) my I-Ds become RFCs (because
most of the I-D references will be RFCs by then).

Most of the rest of my references were to papers from places like SIGCOMM. I
would like to think that including a URL for them, even in an RFC, is the
best I can do (of course, I don't know where these papers will be in 25
years, as Bob points out), even if they do move, as long as I include enough
bibliographic material that someone could chase my references down if they
HAVE moved ("Scotty?", "Aye, Captain?", "Where are the SIGCOMM archives this
week?").

The references I was most concerned about (just to show why Bob's concerns
seem real to me) are e-mail postings from Van Jacobson about the early days
of slow start/congestion avoidance. While looking up URLs a few minutes ago,
I noted that the URLs that pointed to Rich Steven's home page, which is
where I saw them, have moved to http://www.kohala.com/start/, courtesy of
Gary Wright (Rich's co-author), after Rich passed away - which seems like
about the most unanswerable reason for a URL to become stale that *I* can
think of.

Are there gigabytes of discussions about this topic in the archives already?

Spencer

-----Original Message-----
From: braden@ISI.EDU [mailto:braden@ISI.EDU]
Sent: Friday, October 29, 1999 6:17 PM
To: ietf@ietf.org; tlilley@perspex.com
Subject: Re: Citation bug in RFC 2425



BTW,

Using a URL in a citation in an RFC seems like a bad idea.  There may
be exceptions, e.g., an IETF.org or RFC-Editor.org URL might be less
risky.  But expecting a URL in general to stay invariant for 25 years
seems dubious.

Bob Braden

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