Re: ISSN for RFC Series under Consideration

John C Klensin <> Thu, 22 May 2008 13:22 UTC

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Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 09:20:55 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Melinda Shore <>, Ed Juskevicius <>, Randy Presuhn <>
Subject: Re: ISSN for RFC Series under Consideration
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--On Thursday, 22 May, 2008 09:12 -0400 Melinda Shore
<> wrote:

> I think the cataloging question is probably central to the
> question of whether or not to bother with an ISSN.  I don't
> think an ISSN has any practical value other than that it
> increases the likelihood that LC will catalog the series/
> serial and that libraries will then start sticking it into
> their electronic holdings.  Now, I'm not sure I see an
> advantage to getting libraries to pick up RFCs given how
> trivial it is to find them online, but that's another matter.
> Another advantage is discrimination in the event that some
> other serial publication is also called "Request for
> Comments," but again I'm not sure that's an actual problem.
> But mainly, getting an ISSN gets the series into the library
> system.


It is my understanding (more or less third-hand and I no longer
remember the details) that we've been asked about an ISSN by
other bodies, perhaps bodies who are concerned about the exact
discrimination problem you identify.  I believe that at least
one of those bodies was an academic journal or other standards
body that was queasy about referencing RFCs by URL only.  

The problem for them is, of course, not _finding_ the RFCs but
knowing that something that they find is authoritatively part of
the IETF/ RFC-Editor RFC series.  Whether they should or not,
ISSNs are official enough to make them less anxious about that
type of question.


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