Uniform Resource Names, Revised

Document Charter Uniform Resource Names, Revised WG (urnbis)
Title Uniform Resource Names, Revised
Last updated 2010-11-23
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD Alexey Melnikov
Charter Edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)


* * *  Problem Statement  * * *
  Uniform Resource Names (URNs) are location-independent, persistent
  identifiers for information resources.
  The RFCs defining URNs were published in 1997-2001.  They rely on
old   (or even provisional) basic documents on the concepts of URI and
URL. At   that time there was almost no URN implementation experience.
    Since then, the URN system has gained significant popularity, and
  roughly 40 formal URN Namespaces have been defined and registered with
  IANA.  Hundreds of millions of resources have been assigned URNs;
this   enables searching of and persistent linking to these documents,
  artifacts, and other objects.  However, the URN system lacks a
  foundation that is consistent in terminology and formal description with
  present (Full) Internet Standards.     The core URN RFCs --
RFC 2141 (URN Syntax), RFC 3406 (Namespace   Definition Mechanisms) -- are
based on outdated framework documents and   understanding of digital
archiving. All references in RFC 2141 point to   "work in
progress" or documents that have been superseded at least once.  
  The lack of a standard definition of the 'urn' URI scheme
fosters   recurring discussions on what URNs are and IETF commitment to
them.   There is a need to clarify that URNs are specific URIs (namely
those   using the 'urn' URI scheme) and hence all general URI
rules apply to URNs.     There also is a need to update some
namespace registrations for at least   two reasons: the standards
specifying the relevant underlying namespaces   (such as International
Standard Book Number (ISBN)) have been   amended/expanded since the
original specification of the related URN   namespace and the WG's
update of the basic URN-related RFCs might   introduce or identify
inconsistencies.     * * *  Objectives for the Working
Group  * * *     This working group is chartered to update the
key RFCs describing the   URN system, including RFC 2141 (URN Syntax), RFC
3406 (Namespace   Definition Mechanisms), and review and update selected
URN namespace   specifications including those for ISBN, National
Bibliography Numbers   (NBN) and International Serial Standard Number
(ISSN).     For all document revisions, backward compatibility with
previous   URN-related RFCs will be retained.     The WG will
produce an updated set of URN-related RFCs. All documents   will be on the
Standards-Track or BCP. These updates will provide a   normative
foundation for URNs and assure uniformity of the URN   assignment and
resolution concepts and procedures at the abstract level.     Details
and tasks (the WG will approach these tasks in roughly this order):  
    a)  Core URN specifications       For RFC
2141, this revision will include in particular:     - an update of
the formal syntax specification in the light of the       URI
Standard (STD 66, RFC 3986) using the ABNF from STD 68      
(RFC 5234);     - a formal IANA registration for the 'urn'
URI scheme using the       current template from BCP 35 (RFC
4395);     - a revised set of URN examples and     - an
update of the sections describing how URNs are resolved       in
the Internet, based on the current practices.       RFC 3406
(BCP 33) will be aligned with the current IANA procedures     and
terminology as defined in BCP 26 (RFC 5226).       b) URN
Namespace specifications       The WG will focus on updating the
RFCs related to the key     bibliographic identifier systems:  
  - RFC 3187 (URN Namespace for International Standard Book Numbers),
    - RFC 3188 (URN Namespace for National Bibliography Numbers), and
    - RFC 3044 (URN Namespace for International Serial Standard
Number).       All these identifier systems have been updated
since these RFCs were     written in a way that makes revision of the
namespace registration     necessary.       c) Further
work       The WG will support the current registrants of URN
namespaces.  It     will review the legacy URN namespace
definition documents and if     needed, provide advice to their
registrants on how to bring these     registrations in line with the
upcoming URN-related RFCs.     However any work on updating such
specifications beyond giving an     advice would require rechartering
of the WG.     WG Output:   +++++++++++++++++    
  Revision of RFC 2141 based on draft-ah-rfc2141bis-urn    
Revision of RFC 3406       Revision of RFC 3187 based on
draft-hakala-rfc3187bis-isbn-urn     Revision of RFC 3188 based on
draft-hakala-rfc3188bis-nbn-urn     Revision of RFC 3044