Re: [webfinger] Registration of a URN for WebFinger Properties

Will Norris <> Thu, 10 October 2013 17:50 UTC

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From: Will Norris <>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 10:48:59 -0700
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To: "Paul E. Jones" <>
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Cc: webfinger <>, Melvin Carvalho <>
Subject: Re: [webfinger] Registration of a URN for WebFinger Properties
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There irony here is that WebFinger itself was created to solve the problem
of resolving an otherwise unresolvable URI (originally mailto and later
acct URIs).  URNs have the same problem, and since they have no
well-defined host, you can't even use WebFinger to resolve them.  I know
there have been some efforts to define URN resolution (rfc2483 et al), but
as far as I know none are very well adopted.  Using HTTP URIs makes the
most sense to me.

But do we really need yet another registry of properties, the vast majority
of which I'm sure have been defined in a dozen other places?  Is there a
reason why reusing one of these existing namespaces would not work?  (and
if something WebFinger specific really is desirable, then we can continue
using, which has already been used for and
 That was kind of the idea of running it as a static site out of the GitHub
"webfinger" org; it's very easy to give others access to everything.
 That's what we've done with for several years now)

On Sun, Oct 6, 2013 at 8:16 AM, Paul E. Jones <> wrote:

> Yes, any URI can be used to identify a property. However, there has to be
> some agreed scheme and structure for things defined in the IETF. The point
> of the suggestion was to specify that.
> We could use HTTP, but I've never seen that scheme used in IETF documents
> for this type of thing. I've seen URNs, though.
> Paul
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Melvin Carvalho <>
> *Sent:* Sun Oct 06 09:19:42 EDT 2013
> *To:* "Paul E. Jones" <>
> *Cc:* webfinger <>
> *Subject:* Re: [webfinger] Registration of a URN for WebFinger Properties
> On 5 October 2013 03:22, Paul E. Jones <> wrote:
>>  Folks,
>> As you know, properties (both link and subject-specific properties) are
>> identified via a URI.  For applications that are defined outside the IETF,
>> those organizations are able to define any URI they wish to use.  For any
>> we might define within the IETF, however, we need something.
>> In anticipation of having such a need, I think we should create a
>> document along the lines of RFC 6755 for WebFinger.  Specifically, we would
>> define a URN sub-namespace as:
>>    urn:ietf:params:webfinger
>> One such potentially-useful subject-specific properties are "name", which
>> would be the the subject's name intended for human consumption.  If you've
>> queried my WebFinger server, you would know I currently advertise my name
>> in English and Chinese.  For the "default" name, the URN might be:
>>    urn:ietf:params:webfinger:name
>> For language-specific variants, it might be:
>>     urn:ietf:params:webfinger:name:zh-CN
>> Defining the various properties and their meaning is an exercise for
>> another day, but I hope you see the value in defining the URN sub-namespace.
> Cant this be done using traditional HTTP keys.  The advantage being that
> they can be systematically dereferenced using http GET, rather than having
> to look it up in a central registry in a non machine readable way.  This is
> what has been going on for 10+ years, with FOAF,, open graph
> protocol and others.  Have I missed something?
>> Thoughts?
>> Paul
>> _______________________________________________
>> webfinger mailing list
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