Re: ISSN for RFC Series under Consideration

Marshall Eubanks <> Fri, 23 May 2008 15:31 UTC

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From: Marshall Eubanks <>
To: "Hallam-Baker, Phillip" <>
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Subject: Re: ISSN for RFC Series under Consideration
Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 11:30:45 -0400
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On May 23, 2008, at 10:49 AM, Hallam-Baker, Phillip wrote:

> Some points:
> 1) If the objective is to have a URN for RFCs this has already been  
> done:
> RFC 2648: "A URN Namespace for  
> IETF Documents"
> These identifiers must be the canonical identifiers for the RFC  
> series. But they need not be the only identifiers.
> 2) Schemes which rely on paying registrars to sell people numbers  
> are probably unsustainable in the long run unless there is a  
> business reason to use that specific number.
> This is certainly the case for IP numbers. I don't see the business  
> reason for this particular application. Hence I don't see a value in  
> purchasing a DOI identifier at the reported $1500/annum or for  
> accepting one for free use.
That was $ 1500 per annum for a block of 9,999. It is a little more  
complicated - see

The cost for a prefix for 9,999 RFC's would be

- $ 250 up front
- $ 1500 for the block

or a continuing charge of less than $ 1 / RFC / year.

I am not advocating DOI's, just reporting on what is entailed. Note  
that this is not the only registrar; others may be more or less  


> I would consider that to be an endorsement and I don't think that  
> the IETF or ISOC should get any further into that game than it  
> alrady has.
> 3) Whether the documents are paper or digital is now irrelevant.  
> Dead tree publication technology will certainly disappear at some  
> point. My book sells in both paper and Kindle editions. The killer  
> application of Kindle appears to be sale of periodicals and  
> newspapers rather than just books.
> The industry has a clear business need and so they will apply ISSNs  
> to this new field regardless of what the rules might say on the  
> matter.
> 4) ISSNs are used in the library system. They are used in the Z39.50  
> protocol which is the principal protocol used to support that  
> infrastructure today. I think we should get one.
> 5) This topic is a very interesting one and thus one on which a  
> large number of people may have an opinion. The problems raised in  
> the ESDS BOF are very similar.
> Because it is an area where many people may have an opinion it  
> appears to me that the decisive technical breakthrough we might need  
> in this area might well be to develop a technology that allows  
> people to have separate opinions in this area and not attempt to  
> impose more homogeneity than is actually required.

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