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IETF Draft Sets up Public Namespaces 184

figlet writes "A new IETF draft is out (URI Scheme for Information Assets with Identifiers in Public Namespaces). It is a very cool idea and basically introduces namespaces through a new URI scheme. These would be used to refer to resources within their own context. NISO will be the registry for public namespaces. Example (from Herbert Van de Sompel): 'For example, assuming that the namespace of Dewey Decimal Classifications (ddc:) and the namespace of Library of Congress Control Numbers (lccn:) would be registered by their respective authorities, then: the Dewey Decimal Classification 22/eng//004.678 (for the term "Internet") could be expressed as the "info" URI:<info:ddc/22/eng//004.678> and the Library of Congress Control Number 2002022641 could be expressed as the "info" URI <info:lccn/2002022641>.' NISO is going to act as the 'info' registry. Very neat. This basically sets up a parallel web of info spaces, where http/DNS space is just one of many, and anyone can register their namespace 'domain'. Way cool!!"
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IETF Draft Sets up Public Namespaces

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  • Slashdotted (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sir Haxalot ( 693401 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @12:39PM (#7095100)
    Google Cache [google.com]
  • important info (Score:5, Informative)

    by ih8apple ( 607271 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @12:45PM (#7095168)
    From the article:

    "The "info" URI scheme explicitly decouples identification from resolution. Applications SHOULD NOT assume that an "info" URI can be dereferenced to a representation of the resource identified by the URI, though some business processes MAY make "info" URIs resolvable either directly or conditionally. The purposes of the "info" URI scheme are the identification of information assets and the standardization of rules for declaring and comparing identity of information assets without regard to any resolution of the URI or even whether the information asset identified by the URI is accessible on the Internet."

    In other words, the info URI's will not be useful for anything other than providing context and identification. There is no resolution mechanism in place, nor do they intend to have any standard resolution mechanism, which makes the practical use of these URI's almost nonexistant (as current designed.)
  • Um.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <slashdot3@[ ]oggy.com ['phr' in gap]> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @12:47PM (#7095190) Homepage
    Anyone else notice info-uri.niso.org doesn't exist?

    How exactly will browsers implement this new protocol?

    I'm confused about the concept of a "public namespace". If these new URIs are intended to point to information, where will that information be stored and how will it be retrieved?
  • Re:Um.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @12:50PM (#7095223) Homepage
    How exactly will browsers implement this new protocol?

    With the mighty Konqueror you only need a new kio slave :). The others will require a plugin (a very simple one actually)

  • Re:So who do I pay (Score:5, Informative)

    by MerlynEmrys67 ( 583469 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @12:53PM (#7095250)
    Don't bother yet. Realize that this is an initial draft (you use all .0 software right? - Same goes for standards documents) AND an individual submission.

    I haven't looked in on the politics of this one but there are two kinds of individual submissions

    1 - Any idiot can mail something properly formatted to internet-drafts@ietf.org and get it published as an internet draft... don't believe me look here Individual Submissions [ietf.org] - you will find this draft somewhere on this page

    2 - A working group is looking for a new working group item - so they ask the author to post an individual submission so they can consider his work before making a decision - These actually become RFCs

    Want a clue on WG items in the ietf - they come in the form draft-ietf-WGName-topic-rev.txt - The key is to not be fooled by people that post draft-ietf-lastname-topic-rev.txt

  • by jezor ( 51922 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @01:03PM (#7095356) Homepage
    Something just occured to me:

    How quickly do you think that some unthinking government agency or financial institution will start including Social Security numbers into URIs, and make them publicly searchable? It will probably happen accidentally, given that so many institutions use SS#s as identifiers even though they're not supposed to.



    Prof. Jonathan I. Ezor
    Associate Professor of Law and Technology
    Director, Institute for Business, Law and Technology (IBLT)
    Touro Law Center
    300 Nassau Road, Huntington, NY 11743
    Tel: 631-421-2244 x412 Fax: 516-977-3001
    e. jezor@tourolaw.edu
    BizLawTech Blog [tourolaw.edu]
  • by axlrosen ( 88070 ) * on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @01:08PM (#7095393) Homepage
    Arbitrary key names are now URIs?

    Uh no.

    There will be ONE new top-level scheme, "info". It will have (presumably a small-ish number of) second-level "namespaces". Each namespace will be a well-defined system run by some organization. So you could imagine an ISBN namespace, so a URI might look like "info:isbn:0465026567".

    The "info" scheme, and therefore the list of namespaces, will be controlled by an existing standards body called NISO [niso.org]. It's their job to impose the discipline on these URIs. End-users won't get to create their own - only NISO-approved bodies with a well-run namespace can add to this system. Sounds like a good idea to me. I can rely on the fact that any legitimate "info" URI will be well-organized and sensible, I hope.
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @01:19PM (#7095499)
    I never said that a URI was a link to anything. I realize that this new info URI is just a standardization of metadata, which is why I referred to the semantic web, another attempt to standardize metadata. I've been trying to explain for years to various people that XML URIs are not necessarily actual HTTP accessible resource addresses, and I always end up in futile discussions on the topic. Too confusing for many people, when people invent descriptive URIs that look exactly like resource locations in a particular addressing scheme based on DNS. So I think in a way, the info scheme is a good one if it reduces confusion about the meaning of these URIs.

    But my major point is that metadata without trust is not very useful in today's world. Any reference I made to links was only incidental (describing the current search engine situation).

  • Re:Um.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @01:37PM (#7095711) Journal
    RTFA: its not a URL, it explicitly says that it "should not" be assumed to point at anything.

    It is simply a standardized (by NISO) format for identifying something. Like the example given in the /. post:

    "info:lccn/2002022641" becomes the only way to refer to the given LCCN as a URI. No worries about "should it be 'LCCN', or 'LibraryCongressControlNumber', or should the number come first, or is 'lc' enough to let people know that its a library of congress number"... it explicitly sets the proper formatting for a Library of Congress control number URI. And so on. Any organization which wishes to standardize its namespace can apply to NISO to Make It So (tm). NISO assumes the responsibility of making sure that if the Library of Congress is using "lccn", then the Literary Clubs of Congo Nationalists cannot. And thats it. Thats all this does.
  • Re:important info (Score:4, Informative)

    by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:19PM (#7096097) Homepage Journal
    These URIs (not URLs) are used to talk about data, not to access it. For example, the info:isbn:12345 namespace can be used to refer to books; then you can give such a URI to Amazon and they'll charge your credit card and ship you a physical book. The idea is just to have a single unit that contains both the ISBN and the fact that the number is an ISBN, so that computers can reliably recognize ISBNs (etc) rather than determining it from context (easy to lose) or guessing from format (easy to mess up).
  • Re:Dibs (Score:3, Informative)

    by FireBreathingDog ( 559649 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:34PM (#7096805)
    Not to be pedantic, but it seems that the new URIs begin with:


    The "//" construct is usually used to signal the start of a machine name, whereas the following slash is used to signal the start of the path on that machine.

    In this case, the notion of a machine is not used; it is more abstract than that. Hence, no "//"...

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of Microsoft-bashing and templatized joke-recycling...

  • by LinkingGod ( 215643 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @05:06PM (#7097767)
    doi comes with a resolution system, based on cnri's handle system. You pay to get a prefix.

    The info scheme will probably include doi as a namespace info:doi/ although the doi people want to get "doi:" in as a top-level uri scheme.

    every item assigned a doi has to go into the doi registry; with info, only the namespaces will get registered

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer