Re: [urn] URN:META namespace registration request

"Hakala, Juha E" <juha.hakala@helsinki.fi> Tue, 25 February 2020 11:51 UTC

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From: "Hakala, Juha E" <juha.hakala@helsinki.fi>
To: "Dale R. Worley" <worley@ariadne.com>
CC: "ht@inf.ed.ac.uk" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>, "paul@paulwalk.net" <paul@paulwalk.net>, "tom@tombaker.org" <tom@tombaker.org>, "urn@ietf.org" <urn@ietf.org>, "klensin@jck.com" <klensin@jck.com>, "Suominen, Osma I" <osma.suominen@helsinki.fi>
Thread-Topic: [urn] URN:META namespace registration request
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Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2020 11:51:46 +0000
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Subject: Re: [urn] URN:META namespace registration request
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Hello Dale, 

please find attached a revised version of the request. I hope takes all your issues into account. I have also tried to provide better explanation of how these URNs can be used, and the context of such usage. 

Some comments below. 

Best regards,  

Juha 

-----Alkuperäinen viesti-----
Lähettäjä: Dale R. Worley <worley@ariadne.com> 
Lähetetty: lauantai 8. helmikuuta 2020 6.04
Vastaanottaja: Hakala, Juha E <juha.hakala@helsinki.fi>
Kopio: ht@inf.ed.ac.uk; paul@paulwalk.net; tom@tombaker.org; urn@ietf.org; klensin@jck.com; Suominen, Osma I <osma.suominen@helsinki.fi>
Aihe: Re: [urn] URN:META namespace registration request

Comments on URN:META registration request, version 1, 2020-02-07

This document seems to be an outline or advocacy proposal for the use of URNs.  And it seems to be directed entirely to the library bibliographic community.  

Juha: no, it is directed to any community or organization which maintains a metadata format. Library community has been using them for over 50 years, but archives, museums and publishers created their own formats in 90's. And many other communities have followed the suite since then. 

Dale: As such, it doesn't seem to be designed to be understandable by the IETF community.  And it isn't organized as a namespace registration but rather as an exposition or advocacy.  It really needs to be revised carefully.

Some specific issues are:

The term "metadata" is used without definition.  If I understand correctly, this is used to mean "metadata in library bibliographic records", which is a small subset of the information in the world described as "metadata".  It would help if this was clarified.

Juha: I have added definition of metadata from ISO 5127. It covers much more than just bibliographic metadata. 

Dale: The phrase "cool URI" is used a number of times.  Is this a technical term or some sort of commentary?

Juha: the term was used in the same way as Tim Berners-Lee used it. But I have replaced cool URI with URI/URL in the attached version. 

Dale: "PURL" seems to be a technical reference to a specific system.  It would help if this was properly footnoted.

Juha: I have added a link to a page describing the PURL system.  

"DCMI community" is used without definition.

Juha: this term is no longer used in the request, but you can find out about the community from https://www.dublincore.org/themes/community/. 

Dale: The ABNF rule for meta-nss has a component nbn-string, which is not defined.  It appears to be intended to be meta-string (or vice-versa).

Juha: nbn-string was a typo, I corrected it to meta-string. 

Dale: There is this text:

    However, URNs should replace "cool" URIs, since using them as
    identifiers for metadata elements is not ideal. There are several
    reasons for this:

    1. It is not possible to provide links to alternative versions
    (e.g. human readable / machine readable) versions of element
    descriptions with one URL.

However, given that "URN" and "URL" are disjoint, and "URL" is a strict subset of "URI", it's difficult to figure out what this might mean, as e.g. it seems to imply that "cool URIs" are all URLs, and that somehow URNs would replace the cool URIs as URLs...

Juha: this section has been heavily edited and should not be a problem anymore. 

There is this text:

    Rules for lexical equivalence:

    None.

However, defining lexical equivalance is a requirement.  And indeed, the ABNF is annotated with rules for lexical equivalence, "; The entire prefix is case insensitive."

Juha: I added a sentence saying that the case insensitivity of the prefix must be taken into account.  

Dale: There is a long discussion of resolution processes without giving anywhere near enough information that one could write a resolver client.  I suspect that the document is implicitly referring to a style of resolution system that is common in the library bibliographic world.  But if this document is truly to define resolution for a namespace, it has to actually define it.

Juha: the hard part is to create a mapping table in the URN:META resolver, since depending on how the format maintenance agencies have established the current URLs, it may be necessary to create the URN - URLs mappings manually. In most cases there is a logic on how current URLs have been established, so manual work can be minimized. 

There should be no need to develop a dedicated resolver client. Any Web browser will do, as far as I am concerned. URNs will at least eventually be represented as HTTP URIs (with resolver URL included), and the only specific requirement will be support for HTTP language negotiation. 

Dale: The format-code part of the URN is actually a sub-namespace identifier, and it references a particular metadata system which is maintained by a particular maintenance organization.  The text says "As assigned by the respective format maintenance agency", but that implies that codes are self-assigned (a recipe for chaos), whereas the text later explains "New codes are added by the National Library of Finland on request."

Juha: I have corrected the syntax section so that it says " As assigned by the National Library of Finland". Format codes must be centrally managed; otherwise the result is chaos, as you say. 

Dale