Re: [urn] Some initial thoughts on draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc3188bis-nbn-urn-02

Juha Hakala <> Wed, 25 January 2012 06:02 UTC

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Subject: Re: [urn] Some initial thoughts on draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc3188bis-nbn-urn-02
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Hello Bengt, Alfred & all,

>> 3.  I think there is a need to work further on defining
>> restrictions or evaluate the consequences of the current text.


> We are waiting for all kind of thoughts and text proposals!

I agree that there is a need to evaluate the present draft and carefully 
consider the impact it will have on NBN assignment and use. The same 
applies to the ISBN namespace registration, but that document is less 
challenging to write since the ISBN system is specified in great detail 
in the ISO standard 2108:2005 and related guidelines.

On the level of the URN system as a whole, there shall not be many 
restrictions, since at the top level we must allow anything that any 
namespace might justifiably require in the future. We have spent some 
time on the list to find the limits of acceptability. URNs certainly do 
not need to be resolvable, and I have understood that there will be no 
absolute requirement for persistence either because, among other things, 
URNs can be assigned to things which are not persistent per se.

Whether the identifier must be more persistent than the identified 
object itself is of course an interesting question which we do not need 
to solve (I hope).

But URN namespaces can (and many will) specify more detailed rules. The 
identifier system itself may be the basis for this; for instance, 
bibliographic identifiers tend to be persistent and there is a good 
chance that they will remain actionable for quite some time.

NBN will pose a challenge in this respect since it is not a single 
identifier system but a set of them, assigned primarily by the national 
libraries and their peers. Requirements specified in the namespace 
registration may, in the worst case, become counterproductive if we do 
not foresee correctly the ways in which NBNs will be used in the future. 
In the end of the day, feedback from the current and potential future 
users of NBNs is the best guarantee that the NBN namespace registration 
will make sense even five years from now.

So, I look forward to text proposals from Bengt and other current and 
potential user of NBNs. The more people contribute to the content, the 

Best regards,

>> Regards
>> //Bengt
>> ---------------------------------------------------------
>> Bengt Neiss
>> Kungl.  Biblioteket / National Library of Sweden
>> Phone:  +46 (0)10 709 35 41
> Kind regards,
>   Alfred.


  Juha Hakala
  Senior advisor, standardisation and IT

  The National Library of Finland
  P.O.Box 15 (Unioninkatu 36, room 503), FIN-00014 Helsinki University
  Email, tel +358 50 382 7678