Re: [urn] call for comments: an alternative 2141bis document

Larry Masinter <> Sun, 11 November 2012 08:13 UTC

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From: Larry Masinter <>
To: Andrew Newton <>, "" <>
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2012 00:13:31 -0800
Thread-Topic: [urn] call for comments: an alternative 2141bis document
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Subject: Re: [urn] call for comments: an alternative 2141bis document
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For the record:

Personally, I think that the definition of URNs in 2141 was a mistake, and that santandre's document doesn't go far enough. URNs may have originally intended to be "persistent" and "location independent", but in practice, they intrinsically no more or less persistent or location independent as any other URL, they just happen to start with the "urn:" scheme and have a different generic syntax.

In fact, the only thing that distinguishes urns, in general, is that they form a consistent way of important an externally managed namespace into the URI space.

So I would update 2141 to say that there is a URI scheme "urn:" which is useful when there is a naming authority which takes responsibility for determining the interpretation of names. I might also note that there was some confusion about the role of urns in the past, with the hope that they could provide some "persistence", but the distinction is illusive.  One could have just made up URL schemes (use issn:.... instead of urn:issn:...) but the consistency of knowing the nature of the URI might be useful and avoid proliferation of schemes.

I might apologize for Urn:uuid as a mistake (since there is no authority), and point to a few URI schemes which are not normally thought as being "Internet" (tel:, although that's increasingly resolvable.)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On Behalf Of
> Andrew Newton
> Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2012 11:35 AM
> To:
> Subject: [urn] call for comments: an alternative 2141bis document
> All,
> We have received a request for this working group to consider an
> alternative to its adopted 2141bis document
> (draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc2141bis-urn-03). That alternative is
> draft-saintandre-urnbis-2141bis-00
> (
> Additionally, some reviewers of our adopted document have expressed
> concern regarding its unnecessary wordiness, especially in comparison
> with the alternative.
> Can participants of this working group please review both documents
> and express opinions and provide comments as to the direction desired
> for this working group in regards to a 2141bis RFC?
> The two documents can be found here:
> We will use the IETF standard of rough consensus to determine the way
> forward.
> Finally, should the working group desire an alternative approach, we
> intend to preserve and publish the historical and non-normative
> information found in our current document. This information is
> valuable and important.
> -andy
> co-chair, URNBIS
> _______________________________________________
> urn mailing list