Re: Application for a formal URN NID

Ted Hardie <> Wed, 27 March 2013 17:57 UTC

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Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2013 10:57:13 -0700
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Subject: Re: Application for a formal URN NID
From: Ted Hardie <>
To: Enrico Francesconi <>
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Cc: Pierluigi Spinosa <>,
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I note that this document uses ISO3166-1 alpha 2 as the common source
of jurisdiction codes; these codes are subject to re-assignment, if I
understand it correctly, and some have been re-assigned (e.g. AI).
How would the namespace authority handle such a re-assignment?

The document also says this:

   In order to keep editing and communication more simple and to avoid
   character percent-encoding, it is strongly recommended that national
   characters and diacritic signs are turned into base characters (e.g.,
   the Italian term "sanitU+00E0" converted into "sanita", the French
   term "ministU+00E8re" converted into "ministere"). Otherwise, the
   characters have to be percent-encoded according to the UTF-8
   character encoding [STD63] (e.g., "sanitU+00E0" encoded into
   Anyway each country or jurisdiction decides the uniform names
   encoding modality of all the sources of law issued within its

The recommendation to use "base characters" does not work for
languages where the base character set is not permitted according to
the URN syntax.  Within the EU context, Greek would face this problem;
the extension of this system to China, Japan, or Korea would represent
similar challenges.  Having a common method seems essentially required
for successful parsing, but matching will be a challenge even so,
because of the issue that characters which are considered equivalent
in one jurisdiction may not be so in others.  If a straight
string-match on the encoded characters is sufficient, this can be
worked around, but it implies that the namespace authorities will need
strict canonicalization rules.  Is that within the scope of this

Reading through this, I am greatly concerned that the attempt to
create a system which is applies to each national legal system but is
not obviously delegated to them will result in reference issues.  I am
particularly concerned by the implications for countries with multiple
national languages; if a country which allows multiple languages, the
choice of which to use for sub jurisdictions seems fraught with
political impact.  Making them parallel without the input of the
jurisdiction seems, unfortunately, to create reference integrity

 An alternative approach is for the relevant national authority to
create a namespace and to use that to include legal documents if they
wish (New Zealand, for example, has created a URN namespace).  Why is
that not the preferable approach here?

best regards,

Ted Hardie

On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 10:08 AM, Enrico Francesconi
<> wrote:
> Dear Sirs,
>    as per RFC 3406, we are requesting a two-week review for a formal URN
> namespace (LEX) related to "Sources of Law". The I-D application for our
> formal URN NID request is available at:
> Since this Internet Draft is going to expire on April 4th, 2013, we would
> kindly ask you if, meanwhile, we have to upload the draft again (even if no
> changes have been made with respect to the current version (v.07)).
> Thank you very much
> best regards
>    Pierluigi Spinosa and Enrico Francesconi
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques
> Italian National Research Council
> Via de' Barucci 20
> 50127 Florence
> Italy
> Tel: +39 055 4399665
> Fax: +39 055 4399605
> email:
> ---------------------------------------------------------