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A URN Namespace for GEANT

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 4926.
Authors Tomaz Kalin , Maurizio Molina
Last updated 2015-10-14 (Latest revision 2006-11-29)
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Intended RFC status Informational
Stream WG state (None)
Document shepherd (None)
IESG IESG state Became RFC 4926 (Informational)
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Consensus boilerplate Unknown
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD Ted Hardie
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Network Working Group                                            T.Kalin
Internet-Draft                                                     DANTE
Expires: May 3 2007                                             M.Molina

                                                              November 3, 2006

                         A URN Namespace for GEANT

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Copyright Notice

    Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).  All Rights Reserved.


    This document describes a proposed URN (Uniform Resource Name)
    namespace that would be managed by DANTE, representing European
    Research and academic networks, for naming persistent resources
    defined by GEANT, the Consortium of European R&E networks, its
    projects, activities, working groups    and other designated

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1. Introduction and community considerations

    The Consortium of European Academic and Research Networks (GEANT)
    provides high-speed, high-quality network connectivity for education
    institutions, universities, and research centres in Europe. The
    network infrastructure is composed by several National Research and
    Education Networks (NRENs) and their  European-wide interconnection,
    GEANT. The current network is GÉANT2 [6], and is the seventh gene-
    ration of pan-European research and education network, successor to
    the pan-European multi-gigabit research network GÉANT. DANTE [7] is a
    UK based organization representing the members of the Consortium and
    operating the GEANT2 Network. This cooperative work is mainly done in
    the framework of EU funded projects. The biggest of such activities is
    currently the GN2 project [6], started Sep 2004, that follows other
    successful ones having evolved the European Networks for Research and
    Education for almost two decades. It is expected that these activities
    and the network evolution will continue to be supported by European
    Union and all European Governments in the years to come, as the
    existence of a state of the art network for Research in Europe is
    viewed as top    strategic importance by them. We will refer to the
    organisation involved in these  projects or benefiting from their
    outcome as the "GEANT community".

    The GEANT community produces many kinds of documents: specifications,
    working drafts, project reports, schemas, stylesheets, etc.
    The community wishes to provide global, distributed, persistent,
    location-independent names for these resources.  The Uniform Resource
    Name (URN) variant of URIs meets these requirements.

    The GEANT community and other GEANT-affiliated groups would benefit
    from the GEANT URN proposal by having an easy, efficient way to
    assign globally unique, persistent identifiers to resources that they
    create.  The nature of GEANT work is that it is carried out to serve
    the needs of many communities of interest.  A namespace
    managed so as to facilitate the creation, registration and resolution
    of unique, persistent identifiers would be of great value for GEANT,
    its affiliates and the higher education community generally.
    The possibility of fitting the naming needs under existing namespaces
    has been considered, but the conclusion was that the number of the
    activities and the size of the developers community is such that
    creating a lot of (possibly uncoordinated) dependencies from other
    namespaces is undesirable

    The proposed URN namespace specification is for a formal namespace.

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2. Specification Template

    Namespace ID:

          "geant" requested.

    Registration Information:

          Registration Version Number 1

          Registration Date: 2006-03-21

    Registrant of the namespace:

          ATTN: Maurizio Molina
          City House
          126 - 130 Hills Road
          Cambridge CB2 1PQ
          United Kingdom
          Phone: +44 1223 371340

          Contact: Tomaz Kalin
          Affiliation: DANTE
          City House
          126 - 130 Hills Road
          Cambridge CB2 1PQ

          Phone: +386 1 430 3055

    Syntactic structure:

          The Namespace Specific Strings (NSS) of all URNs assigned by
          GEANT will conform to the syntax defined in section 2.2 of
          RFC2141, "URN Syntax." [1] In addition, all GEANT URN NSSs will
          consist of a left-to-right series of tokens delimited by
          colons.  The left-to-right sequence of colon-delimited tokens
          corresponds to descending nodes in a tree.  To the right of the

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          lowest naming authority node there may be zero, one or more
          levels of hierarchical naming nodes terminating in a rightmost
          leaf node.  See the section entitled "Identifier assignment"
          below for more on the semantics of NSSs.  This syntax
          convention is captured in the following normative ABNF rules
          for GEANT NSSs (see RFC2234): [2]

          GEANT-NSS        =   1*(subStChar) 0*(":" 1*(subStChar))

          subStChar       =   trans / "%" HEXDIG HEXDIG

          trans           =   ALPHA / DIGIT / other / reserved

          other           =   "(" / ")" / "+" / "," / "-" / "." /

                               "=" / "@" / ";" / "$" /

                               "_" / "!" / "*" / "'"

          reserved        =   "%" / "/" / "?" / "#"

          The exclusion of the colon from the list of "other" characters
          means that the colon can only occur as a delimiter between
          string tokens.  Note that this ABNF rule set guarantees that
          any valid GEANT NSS is also a valid RFC2141 NSS.

    Relevant ancillary documentation:


    Identifier uniqueness:

          It is the responsibility of DANTE to guarantee
          uniqueness of the names of immediately subordinate naming
          authorities.  Each lower-level naming authority in turn
          inherits the responsibility of guaranteeing uniqueness of names
          in their branch of the naming tree.

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    Identifier persistence:

          DANTE bears ultimate responsibility for maintaining
          the usability of GEANT urns over time. This responsibility may
          be delegated to subordinate naming authorities per the
          discussion in the section below on identifier assignment.  That
          section provides a mechanism for the delegation to be revoked
          in the case a subordinate naming authority ceases to function.

    Identifier assignment:

          DANTE will create an initial series of  immediately
          subordinate naming authorities, and will define a process for
          adding to that list of authorities.  Each top-level working
          group of GEANT will be invited to designate a naming authority
          and to suggest one or more candidate names.

          Institutions and communities affiliated with GEANT may request,
          through their designated GEANT liaison, that they be granted
          GEANT-subordinate naming authority status.  They may propose
          candidate names for that authority.  One way for such entities
          to guarantee uniqueness of their proposed name is to base it on
          a DNS name.  That is, if e.g. the German National Research and
          Education Network wished to be designated a subordinate naming
          authority under GEANT, the institutional GEANT liaison could
          propose to DANTE to be delegated control over names beginning
          with, ""  Institutions seeking affiliation
          with GEANT should send email to,
          nominating an institutional liaison and providing contact
          information for that person.

          On at least an annual basis, DANTE will contact the
          liaisons or directors of each immediately subordinate naming
          authority.  If there is no response, or if the respondent
          indicates that they wish to relinquish naming authority, the
          authority over that branch of the tree reverts to GEANT.  This
          process will be enforced recursively by each naming authority
          on its subordinates.  This process guarantees that
          responsibility for each branch of the tree will lapse for less
          than one year at worst before being reclaimed by a superior

          Lexical equivalence of two GEANT namespace specific strings
          (NSSs) is defined below as an exact, case-sensitive string
          match.  DANTE will assign names of immediately subordinate

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          naming authorities in lower case only.  This forestalls the
          registration of two GEANT-subordinate naming authorities whose
          names differ only in case.

    Identifier resolution:

          DANTE will maintain an index of all GEANT and GEANT
          workgroup assigned URNs on its web site,

          That index will map URNs to resource identifiers, usually URLs.
          GEANT- affiliated naming authorities will specify how to
          resolve the URNs they assign if they are resolvable.

    Lexical equivalence:

          Lexical equivalence of two GEANT namespace specific strings
          (NSSs) is defined as an exact, case-sensitive string match.

    Conformance with URN syntax:

          All GEANT NSSs fully conform to RFC2141 syntax rules for NSSs.

    Validation mechanism:

          As specified in the "Identifier resolution" section above,
          DANTE will maintain an index of all GEANT and GEANT
          workgroup assigned URNs on its web site,

          Presence in that index implies that a given URN is valid.
          GEANT-affiliated naming authorities will specify how to validate
          the URNs they assign.



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3. Security Considerations

    There are no additional security considerations beyond those normally
    associated with the use and resolution of URNs in general.

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4. Namespace Considerations

    Registration of an NID specific to GEANT is reasonable given the
    following considerations:

    1.  GEANT would like to assign URNs to some very fine-grained objects
    This does not seem to be the primary intended use of the XMLORG
    namespace (RFC3120) [3], or the more tightly controlled OASIS
    namespace (RFC 3121) [4].

    2.  GEANT seeks naming autonomy. GEANT is not a member of OASIS, so
    becoming a subordinate naming authority under the OASIS URN space
    is not an option.

    3.  GEANT will want to assign URNs to non-XML objects as well.  That
    is another reason that XMLORG may not be an appropriate higher-level
    naming authority for GEANT.

    Some GEANT-developed schema and namespaces may be good candidates for
    inclusion in the XMLORG or possible future "EU" registry.  The
    fact that such an object might already have a GEANT-assigned URN
    shouldn't be a hindrance.  Work in progress to update RFC2611 [5]
    includes an explicit statement that two or more URNs may point to the
    same resource. A resource  with a GEANT-assigned
    namespace-specific-string  would, of course, be given an XMLORG or EU
    namespace-specific-string as it enters the XMLORG or "EU" registry.

5. Community Considerations

    The assignment and use of identifiers within the namespace are open,
    and the related rule is established by DANTE. Registration agencies -
    the next level naming authorities will be the European National Research
    and Education Networks and the established organizational cross-border

    It is expected that the majority of the NRENs and all GEANT base activities
    make use of the GEANT namespace.

    After the establishment of the GEANT namespace the consortium will, as soon
    as practical,    establish a resolution service (analogously to other
    distributed pan - European services, like EduROAM, PerfSONAR, etc) for
    the namespace clients.

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6. IANA Considerations

    This document is intended as a formal request to IANA for the
    registration of a "GEANT" NID within the IANA registry of URN NIDs.

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    [1]  Moats, R., "URN Syntax", RFC 2141, May 1997.

    [2]  Crocker, D. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
         Specifications: ABNF", RFC 2234, November 1997.

    [3]  Best, K. and N. Walsh, "A URN Namespace for", RFC 3120,
         June 2001.

    [4]  Best, K. and N. Walsh, "A URN Namespace for OASIS", RFC 3121,
         June 2001.

    [5]  Daigle, L., van Gulik, D., Iannella, R. and P. Faltstrom, "URN
         Namespace Definition Mechanisms", RFC 3406, October 2002.

    [6]  GÉANT2 project's website

    [7]  DANTE's company website

Authors' Addresses

    T. Kalin
    c/o DANTE
    City House
    126 - 130 Hills Road
    CB2 1PQ
    Unired Kingdom


    Maurizio Molina
    City House
    126 - 130 Hills Road
    CB2 1PQ
    United Kingdom


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