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A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Formal Namespace for the New Zealand Government

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 4350.
Authors Ferry Hendrikx , Colin Wallis
Last updated 2015-10-14 (Latest revision 2005-02-11)
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Intended RFC status Informational
Stream WG state (None)
Document shepherd (None)
IESG IESG state Became RFC 4350 (Informational)
Action Holders
Consensus boilerplate Unknown
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD Ted Hardie
Send notices to (None)
Internet-Draft                          F. Hendrikx and C. Wallis
Expires: August 10, 2005                E-government Unit       
                                        State Services Commission
                                        New Zealand Government
                                        February 11, 2005                               

              A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Formal Namespace 
                      for the New Zealand Government

            Suggested filename: <draft-hendrikx-wallis-urn-nzl-00.txt>

Status of this Memo

    This document is an Internet-Draft and is subject to all provisions
    of Section 3 of RFC 3667 entitled "Rights in IETF Contributions".
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Copyright Notice

    Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).


    This document describes a Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace 
    Identification (NID)convention as prescribed by the World Wide Web
    Consortium (W3C) for identifying, naming, assigning and managing 
    persistent resources and XML artefacts for the New Zealand 

    Discussion and comments on this draft should be sent to the authors' 
    addresses located at end of this document. 

1.  Introduction

    The New Zealand Government has already adopted XML as its primary 
    means of storing and exchanging data.  The New Zealand Government 
    publishes documents, schemas and other government artefacts. 

    The New Zealand Government now wishes to define a namespace 
    convention and structure for its agencies by creating and managing 
    globally unique, persistent, location independent identifiers for 
    their schema resources and XML artefacts. 

    This is a natural extension of the development of the Dublin Core 
    based New Zealand Government metadata standard (New Zealand 
    Government Locator Service - NZGLS) used by government agencies to 
    create metadata and made operational to the public through an 
    all-of-government portal. 

    The New Zealand Government wishes to provide guidance on namespaces 
    to its agencies so that they use a portion of the adopted namespace 
    to minimise the risk of them creating different (and potentially 
    conflicting) namespace structures.  This issue potentially extends 
    to data exchange beyond government into the private sector of New 
    Zealand, thus placing the government under an obligation to provide 
    guidance in the assignment and management of additional namespaces. 

    The New Zealand Government wishes to register the country NID, NZL, 
    with the Name Specific String (NSS) split into two parts; the first 
    part being a specific sub type <nz-specifier> and the second part 
    as a <nz-specifier defined string>. 

    As part of the URN structure the New Zealand Government wishes to 
    define and subsequently manage the "govt" specifier.  It will also 
    assign additional specifiers requested by other New Zealand 
    organisations in accordance with the rules and processes proposed 

    The New Zealand Government hoped to make use of the two letter 
    Namespace Identifier (NID) combination for its ubiquitous country 
    code, NZ.  But since there is as yet no process to register these, 
    (refer RFC 3406) the government has opted to request its well known 
    alternative three letter country code (refer ISO 3166).
    This namespace specification requests a formal namespace.

    Please note that this paper includes a discussion on the use of 
    diacritic marks, in particular, Maori macrons.  Maori is an official 
    language of New Zealand.  In recognition of the established practice 
    of publishing RFCs for a global audience in ASCII text where 
    diacritic marks are unable to be recognised, the text has been 
    presented without macrons. 

2.  Specification Template

        Namespace ID:

        Registration Information:

                Version Number: 1

                Date: 2005-03-31

        Declared registrant of the namespace:

                E-government Unit 

                c/o State Services Commission 

                New Zealand Government

                100 Molesworth Street


                New Zealand


        Declaration of structure:

The identifier has a hierarchical structure as follows:

urn:nzl:<nz-specifier>[:<nz-specifier defined string>]+
+ denotes one or more occurrences of nz-specifier defined strings all 
delimited by a colon.

For example: 


The <nz-specifier> and <nz-specifier defined string> can comprise any 
UTF-8 characters compliant with URI syntax and must not contain the ":" 
character (refer RFC 2396).  The exclusion of the colon from the list 
of other characters means that the colon can only occur as a delimiter 
between string values.  The values come from the terms listed in the 

The State Services Commission E-government Unit (SSC EGU) of the New 
Zealand Government will take responsibility for the <nz-specifier> 
"govt" and its sub level <nz-specifier defined string> terms; e.g. 

The SSC EGU of the New Zealand Government will take responsibility to 
assign other <nz-specifiers> to organisations who apply and can satisfy 
the SSC EGU that they have the capability to manage the sub level and 
its applicable <nz-specifier defined string(s)>.

        Relevant ancillary documentation:

The function and noun syntax used in the <nz-specifier defined string> 
is based on and taken from the NZGLS 

        Identifier uniqueness considerations:

Identifiers in the <nz-specifier> "govt" are defined and assigned in the 
requested namespace by the SSC EGU after ensuring that the URNs to be 
assigned are unique.  Uniqueness is achieved by checking against the 
registry of previously assigned names. 

The SSC EGU will ensure that the URNs to be assigned to other 
organisations applying for other <nz-specifier(s)> (e.g. mil, co, org) 
are unique by checking against the registry of previously assigned 
The SSC EGU will develop and publish the process for doing this which, 
where applicable, is consistent with the process it uses for moderating 
the Top Level Domain (TLD). 

        Identifier persistence considerations:

The New Zealand Government is committed to maintaining uniqueness and 
persistence of all resources identified by assigned URNs. 

Given that the URN sought is NZL (the long held ISO 3166 Alpha-3 
representation of the country) together with the country's independence 
from any other jurisdiction expected to continue indefinitely, the URN 
should also persist indefinitely. 

Likewise, the <nz-specifier> "govt" has a very long life expectancy and 
can be expected to remain unique for the foreseeable future.  The 
assignment process guarantees that names are not reassigned.  The 
binding between the name and its resource is permanent. 

The SSC EGU will ensure that other organisations applying to manage 
other <nz-specifier> Second Level Name (2LN) sub levels of the NZL URN 
namespace; (e.g. mil, co, org) uniquely assign the namespace at this 

        Process of identifier assignment:

Under the "NZL" NID, the New Zealand Government will manage the <nz-
specifier> "govt" and leverage the existing NZGLS thesaurus for 
identifier resources to maintain uniqueness. 

The process of assigning URNs at the <nz-specifier> sub level will be 
managed by the SSC EGU of the New Zealand Government. (The SSC EGU has 
managed and maintained the NZGLS thesauri since its inception in 2002 
as well as moderating the TLD, 

The SSC EGU will develop and publish the process for doing this which 
is consistent with the process it uses for moderating the TLD, 
where applicable.  The process for marketing the "" TLD can be 
found at these links:


and is drawn from the 2LD policies and procedures of the New Zealand 
Office of the Domain Name Commissioner (and 

Other New Zealand organisations may apply to the SSC EGU to delegate 
specifiers for resolution and management assigned by them.  Delegation 
of this responsibility will not be unreasonably withheld provided the 
processes for their resolution and management are robust and are 

Organisations who apply to have a <nz-specifier> assigned to them must 
satisfy the SSC EGU that they have the capability to responsibly manage 
the 2LN sub level and its applicable <nz-specifier defined string(s)>.  
The policies and procedures in the links above will be provided to 
applicants as a guide and will be used by the SSC EGU to determine the 
applicant's capability. 

        Process of identifier resolution:
For the <nz-specifier> "govt", the SSC EGU will maintain lists of 
assigned identifiers on its web pages at

The SSC EGU will require other organisations that apply to manage other 
<nz-specifier> sub levels to follow this practice unless there are 
specific reasons (e.g. security) not to do so.

        Rules for Lexical Equivalence:

The lexical equivalence of the NZL namespace specific strings (NSSs) is 
defined as an exact, but not case-sensitive string match. Best Practice 
guidelines will specify:

a)      NZL in either upper or lower case 
(The New Zealand government will assign names case-insensitive, to 
ensure that there will not be two NZL URNs differing only by case)
b)      The first letter of each <nz-specifier> and <nz specifier 
defined string> in upper case or the whole value in lower case

c)      Any identifier in NZL namespaces can be compared using the 
normal mechanisms for percent-encoded UTF-8 strings.

Note that textual data containing diacritic marks (such as Maori 
macrons) will not be treated as lexically equivalent to textual data 
without diacritic marks; i.e. a distinction will be made.  It is 
important to note that a macron can change the meaning of a word in the 
Maori language. 

The following explanation provides guidance in this respect.

NSS is any UTF-8 encoded string that is compliant with the URN syntax 
(i.e. following the encoding rules for 8-bit characters).  Since Maori 
is an official language in New Zealand and its use of diacritic marks 
(in this case macrons) invokes the requirement to percent-encode 
reserved characters, the following extract from 
is applicable.

    "When a new URI scheme defines a component that represents textual 
    data consisting of characters from the Unicode character set [UCS], 
    the data should be encoded first as octets according to the UTF-8 
    character encoding [STD63], and then only those octets that do not 
    correspond to characters in the unreserved set should be 
    percent-encoded.  For example, the character A would be represented 
    as "A", the character LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH GRAVE would be 
    represented as "%C3%80", and the character KATAKANA LETTER A would 
    be represented as "%E3%82%A2".

As described above, UTF-8 allows the use of diacritic marks such as New 
Zealand Maori macrons.

In the New Zealand context, the word "Maori" carries a diacritic mark 
over the "a".  A URI including the macronised word "Maori" would be 
percent-encoded as M%C4%81ori.

Given that the "govt" namespaces will draw from the NZGLS thesaurus 
(that does not at present utilise diacritic marks) the "govt" 
<nz-specifier> will not utilise UTF-8's percent encoding convention for 
diacritic marks. An "a" with a diacritic mark will be presented simply 
as an "a".  There is no mapping or equivalence table.  Therefore, the 
requirement to distinguish between terms that have diacritic marks and 
those that do not, will not arise in the <nz-specifier> "govt".

Other organisations may use diacritic marks with certain conditions.  
Organisations that apply to manage other <nz-specifier> sub levels of 
the NZL URN namespace could utilise UTF-8's diacritic functionality 
provided they have the applicable processes to separate Maori language 
terms using macrons from those that do not, in order to ensure 
uniqueness in accordance with rule c) above. 

        Conformance with URN Syntax:

                No special considerations.

        Validation mechanism:

None other than names being derived from the NZGLS thesaurus 


                Global, but primarily of National interest. 

3. Namespace Considerations

The SSC EGU undertook a preliminary study of the URI alternatives 
against the key requirements.  The options were narrowed down to five.  
These were a private URI scheme, URL, PURL, IRI and URN.  URN was 
considered to be the most appropriate URI against the criteria. 

Consultation on the preliminary study was actively sought from The 
Internet Society of NZ (InternetNZ), The NZ Computer Society, 
applicable vendors and government agencies.  Publication on the 
e-government web site allowed for public participation. 

Points that should be noted are:

a)      With respect to the NID, the New Zealand Government is the 
        first known jurisdiction to apply its globally known ISO 3166 
        Alpha-3 country code to become a URN. One objective of the 
        ISO 3166 Alpha-2 and 3 letter country codes was to provide 

b)      The namespace follows the logical structure of the NZGLS as 
        shown in the examples above.

4. Community Considerations:

Providers of government information for data exchange benefit by the 
publication of the namespace because it provides much needed guidance 
on generating target namespaces for schema development using a process 
that reflects what they already know รป namely metadata creation in NZGLS.  
The identifiers under the "govt" specifier will track the terms used in 
the New Zealand government thesaurus. 

Consequently, New Zealanders will ultimately benefit since the exchange 
of more structured information will potentially improve online 
experiences in such areas as forms design.

Any citizen or organisation with Internet web browser capability will be 
entitled to access the namespace and its associated application, 
registration and resolution services.  While the assignment of 
identifiers will be managed by the SSC EGU, additional specifiers, such 
as mil, co, org and their <nz-specifier defined string(s)> can be openly 
applied for and registered by anyone following an approved namespace 
governance process and proof of the applicant's bona fide association 
with the intended specifier (i.e. no squatting or hoarding). 

5.  IANA Considerations:

This document includes a URN NID registration for NZL for entry in the 
IANA registry of URN NIDs. The registration should not be actioned prior 
to RFC publication.   

6.  Security Considerations

No serious security implications are envisaged beyond the potential 
threat of spoofing.  The application, registration and assignment of 
subsequent specifiers will leverage existing government processes to 
authenticate the applicants and their association with the proposed 
specifier application.  

7.  Acknowledgement

Since the specification described in this document is derived from 
RFC 2396 and RFC 3406, the acknowledgements in those documents still 
apply.  In addition, the authors wish to acknowledge Leslie Daigle 
and Ted Hardie for their suggestions and review. 

8.  References: 

8.1.  Normative References

[1]  Daigle, L., van Gulik, D., Iannella, R. and Falstrom P,. "Uniform 
Resource Names (URN) Namespace Definition Mechanisms, RFC 3406, October 

[2]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R. and Masinter, L,. "Uniform Resource
Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax", RFC 2396, August 1998.

8.2.  Informative References

[3]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R and Masinter L,. "Uniform Resource 
Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax draft-fielding-uri-rfc2396bis-07", 
September 2004.
[4]  Narten, T,. Alvestrand, H,. "Guidelines for Writing an IANA 
considerations Section in RFC's", RFC 2434, October 1998.

[5]  Bellifemine, F., Constantinescu, I., Willmott, S., "A Uniform 
Resource Name (URN)Namespace for Foundation for Intelligent Physical 
Agents (FIPA)", RFC 3616, September 2003.

[6] Mealling, M., "A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace for the 
Liberty Alliance Project", RFC 3622, February 2004.

[7] URI Planning Interest Group, W3C/IETF (See acknowledgments) 
September 2001, 

9.  Authors Address

Ferry Hendrikx and Colin Wallis
E-government Unit
State Services Commission
PO Box 329
New Zealand

Phone: +64 4 495 2856


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