Re: [urn] I-D Action: draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc3188bis-nbn-urn-04

Juha Hakala <> Mon, 22 October 2012 12:36 UTC

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Subject: Re: [urn] I-D Action: draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc3188bis-nbn-urn-04
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The new namespace registrations for URN:NBN and URN:ISBN have benefited 
a lot from revisions Alfred has made to the I-Ds he is responsible of. 
Both ISBN and NBN communities are likely to find e.g. query and fragment 
valuable, and the latest versions of 2141bis and 3406bis provide a solid 
basis for specifying how these URI features are to be used within a 
particular URI namespace.

Given the usefulness of query and fragment in the PID context it is 
obvious that people will start using them in URNs (in fact, I know one 
project which is already using fragment). If the URN syntax 
specification and the namespace registration guidelines say nothing 
about how to use these features (or whether they can be used at all), 
there can be a lot of confusion. People might use e.g. fragment when it 
is not appropriate, or reinvent functionality available via query. 
Therefore it would've been impractical to use Peter's slim URN syntax 
variant as the starting point of these namespace registrations.

More generally, concerning this issue brought up by SM:

> I'll be candid. I took a quick look at the draft. About a third of the 
> text in draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc2141bis-urn-03 is non-technical material. 
> When I compare this draft with the one submitted by Peter Saint-Andre, 
> I am inclined to pick the latter. 

I support Alfred's point that many people who'll read URN-related RFCs 
will not be familiar with IETF in general and the history of URNs in 
particular, and it is important to provide them some background 
information. A particularly important target group are people 
representing identifier systems which may or may not register 
namespaces. The key RFCs may be the only source of information at hand 
when the process begins, and if these documents provide just the very 
minimum of what is needed, some important namespace registrations may 
never be produced. I have written namespace registration requests using 
both the old, "skeletal" RFC 2141 and the new RFC2141bis, and IMHO the 
new, more exhaustive document was more helpful. I am a librarian, not an 
engineer, but writing a namespace registration request requires, first 
and foremost, familiarity with the identifier standard and its usage.

All the best,


On 22.10.2012 14:30, Alfred � wrote:
> URNbis folks,  (again speaking as the draft editor)
> we have arrived at uploading a new version of the URN:NBN draft,
> which accommodates discussion since the last draft version in
> spring and the implications from the "A way forward ..." changes
> to the rfc2141bis and rfc3406bis draft versions already submitted
> this week.
> Juha did the bulk of the work, but again, I should be blamed for
> all the nasty nits and flaws still buried in the document.
> Juha will speak up and supply additional information ASAP.
> For a quick summary of changes, please see below.
> Text parts of this memo related to query directives will need
> to be revisited after consolidation with NBN stakeholders;
> we hope that there will be progress in this matter soon, once
> the expected discussion on the core documents settles.
> Please study this draft in detail and send draft text related
> comments.  The plan is to issue one or two additional draft
> versions (also depending on progress with the two core documents)
> before proceeding to WG Last Call for this document.
> A few minutes ago, wrote:
>> A New Internet-Draft is available from the on-line Internet-Drafts
>> directories.
>> This draft is a work item of the Uniform Resource Names, Revised
>> Working Group of the IETF.
>>     Title     : Using National Bibliography Numbers as Uniform Resource Names
>>     Author(s) : Juha Hakala
>>                 Alfred Hoenes
>>     Filename  : draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc3188bis-nbn-urn-04.txt
>>     Pages     : 20
>>     Date      : 2012-10-22
>> Abstract:
>>     National Bibliography Numbers, NBNs, are used by the national
>>     libraries and other organizations in order to identify various
>>     resources such as digitized monographs.  Generally, NBNs are applied
>>     to resources that do not have an established (standard) identifier
>>     system of their own.
>>     A URN (Uniform Resource Names) namespace for NBNs was established in
>>     2001 in RFC 3188.  Since then, several European national libraries
>>     have implemented URN:NBN-based systems.
>>     This document replaces RFC 3188 and defines how NBNs can be supported
>>     within the updated URN framework.  A revised namespace registration
>>     (version 4) compliant to the RFC 3406bis draft is included.
>> The IETF datatracker status page for this draft is:
>> There's also a htmlized version available at:
>> A diff from the previous version is available at:
>> Internet-Drafts are also available by anonymous FTP at:
> This new draft version contains the following incremental change
> summary as an Appendix:
> -------- snip --------
> B.5.  draft-ietf-urnbis-rfc3188bis-nbn-urn-03 to -04
>     -  specification of how to use URN query and fragment part based on
>        the revised versions of rfc2141bis and rfc3406bis;
>     -  various textual improvements and clarifications, including:
>     -  textual alignments with rfc3187bis draft vers. -03;
>     -  multiple editorial fixes and improvements.
> -------- snip --------
> Another Appendiz of the I-D contains the updated summary of essential
> changes since RFC 3188:
> -------- snip --------
> Appendix A.  Significant Changes from RFC 3188
>     Numerous clarifications based on a decade of experience with
>     RFC 3188.
>     Non-ISO 3166 (country code) based NBNs have been removed due to lack
>     of usage.
>     In accordance with established practice, the whole NBN prefix is now
>     declared case-insensitive.
>     Updated URN:NBN Namespace Registration template for IANA; whole
>     document adapted to new URN Syntax document, RFC 2141bis, and new URN
>     Namespace Registration document, RFC 3406bis.
>     Use of query directives and fragment parts with this Namespace is now
>     specified, in accordance with the aforementioned RFCs.
> -------- snip --------
> Best regards,
>    Alfred.
> ~
> _______________________________________________
> urn mailing list


  Juha Hakala
  Senior advisor

  The National Library of Finland
  P.O.Box 15 (Unioninkatu 36, room 503)
  FIN-00014 Helsinki University
  tel +358 9 191 44293