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Uniform Resource Characteristics (urc)
(concluded WG)

Note: The data for concluded WGs is occasionally incorrect.
Name: Uniform Resource Characteristics
Area:Applications Area (app)
State: Concluded
Charter: charter-ietf-urc-01 (Approved)
Chairs: Richard Petke <>
Mark Madsen <>
Mailing List

Charter for Working Group

Uniform Resource Characteristics (URCs) are descriptions, such as
bibliographic or configuration control records, of Internet-accessible
resources. Particular communities expend considerable effort to develop
descriptions that are appropriate for their resources. Many of these
descriptions are notable more for their commonalties and their
gratuitous differences than for their necessary, community-specific,

These resource descriptions are of interest to the IETF because
Internet applications that make use of such descriptions display a need
for at least three forms of interoperability. The first is for
separately-developed applications to exchange descriptions that conform
to a commonly-agreed description scheme. The second is to translate
descriptions from one scheme to another with minimum loss of
information. The third is for two applications that use the same
descriptive scheme but different transfer protocols to exchange
descriptions with the aid of a gateway.

To provide these forms of interoperability, the URC-WG is chartered to
standardize the framework for a family of descriptive datatypes known
as URC subtypes. The framework will specify:

1) The structure of the datatypes and a minimal query capability,
as well as the rules for mapping the datatypes and queries to
and from at least two record formats.

2) The conveyance of those record formats in well-established
Internet transfer protocols.

3) At least two syntaxes for defining new datatypes.

4) The semantics of a very small number of descriptive elements,
such as URL and Content-type, that are needed for retrieving
resources over the network, are appropriate for all URCs
to utilize, and are within the domain of IETF standards.

In order to demonstrate all the forms of interoperation, the URC-WG is
also chartered to standardize a small number of particular URC
subtypes, and a small number of realizations of the URC framework in
well-established Internet transfer protocols.


Jun 1996
Submit Internet-Draft of Canonical URC Representation and realization in at least one record format.
Jul 1996
Submit Internet-Draft on conveying URC records in a well-established Internet transfer protocol.
Aug 1996
Submit Internet-Drafts of first two URC subtypes.
Sep 1996
Revise Canonical representation Internet-Draft to account for experiences during implementation of subtypes.
Oct 1996
Demonstrate interoperability between separately-developed implementations of same URC subtype.
Dec 1996
Submit Internet-Draft on conveying URCs in a second transfer protocol.
Jan 1997
Demonstrate gateway between two or more transfer protocols.
Apr 1997
Obtain WG consensus on documents and submit to IESG for publication as RFCs (Proposed Standard or Experimental).