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The IETF XML Registry
RFC 3688 also known as BCP 81

Document Type RFC - Best Current Practice (January 2004)
Was draft-mealling-iana-xmlns-registry (individual in app area)
Author Michael H. Mealling
Last updated 2013-03-02
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
IESG Responsible AD Ted Hardie
Send notices to (None)
RFC 3688
Network Working Group                                        M. Mealling
Request for Comments: 3688                                VeriSign, Inc.
BCP: 81                                                     January 2004
Category: Best Current Practice

                         The IETF XML Registry

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the
   Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.


   This document describes an IANA maintained registry for IETF
   standards which use Extensible Markup Language (XML) related items
   such as Namespaces, Document Type Declarations (DTDs), Schemas, and
   Resource Description Framework (RDF) Schemas.

1.  Introduction

   Over the past few years, the Extensible Markup Language (XML)
   [W3C.REC-xml] has become a widely used method for data markup.  There
   have already been several IETF Working Groups that have produced
   standards that define XML Document Type Definitions (DTDs), XML
   Namespaces [W3C.REC-xml-names], and XML Schemas [W3C.REC-xmlschema-
   1]. Each one of these technologies uses Uniform Resource Identifiers
   (URIs) [RFC2396] and other standardized identifiers to identify
   various components.

   For example, while it has been the practice within some standards
   that use Document Type Definitions (DTDs) to forego the use of the
   PUBLIC identifiers in favor of 'well known' SYSTEM identifiers, it
   has proven to be more trouble than its worth to attempt to
   standardize SYSTEM identifiers.  The result is that several IETF
   standards that have simply created non-resolvable URIs in order to
   simply identify but not resolve the DTD for some given XML document.

   This document seeks to standardize and improve these practices by
   creating an IANA maintained registry of XML element identifiers so
   that document authors and implementors have a well maintained and

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   authoritative location for their XML elements.  As part of this
   standard, the IANA will maintain:

   o  the public representation of the document,

   o  the URI for the elements if one is provided at the time of

   o  a registry of Public Identifiers as URIs.

   In the case where the registrant does not request a particular URI,
   the IANA will assign it a Uniform Resource Name (URN) that follows

2.  Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14, RFC 2119

3.  Registerable Documents

3.1.  The Assigned/Registered URI

   All elements (except PUBLIC identifiers) in this registry will
   require a URI in order to be registered.  If the registrant wishes to
   have a URI assigned, then a URN of the form


   will be assigned where <class> is the type of the document being
   registered (see below).  <id> is a unique id generated by the IANA
   based on any means the IANA deems necessary to maintain uniqueness
   and persistence.  NOTE: in order for a URN of this type to be
   assigned, the item being registered MUST have been through the IETF
   consensus process.  Basically, this means that it must be documented
   in a RFC.  The RFC 3553 [RFC3553] URN registration template is found
   in Section 6.

   The IANA will also maintain a file server available via at least HTTP
   and FTP that contains all of the registered elements in some publicly
   accessible file space in the same way that all of the IANA's
   registered elements are available via  While the directory structure of
   this server is up to the IANA, it is suggested that the files be
   organized by the <class> and the individual files have the <id> as
   their filename.

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   Implementors are warned that they should not programatically rely on
   those resources being available or the directory structure remaining
   static for any reason.  It is explicitly recognized that some
   software tools attempt to download DTDs, schema, etc., 'on the fly'
   and that developers should understand when this is done and when to
   not reference IANA network resources as a 'schema download
   repository'.  This is the reason that the IANA will not register or
   provide SYSTEM identifiers.

3.2.  Registerable Classes

   The list of types of XML elements that can be registered with the
   IANA are:

   publicid -- An XML document that contains a DOCTYPE declaration or
      any other external reference can identify that reference via both
      a PUBLIC identifier and a SYSTEM identifier.  The SYSTEM
      identifier is system-specific information that enables the entity
      manager of an XML system to locate the file, memory location, or
      pointer within a file where the entity can be found.  It should
      also be noted that a system identifier could be an invocation of a
      program that controls access to an entity that is being
      identified.  Thus, they are not registered items.  In many cases,
      SYSTEM identifiers are also URIs.  However, in these cases, the
      URI is still only used for system-specific information.  In the
      case where a PUBLIC Identifier is also a URI, it is possible for
      the SYSTEM Identifier to contain the same URI but this behavior is
      not recommended unless its side effects are well known and
      understood to not cause any unacceptable harm.

      A PUBLIC identifier is a name that is intended to be meaningful
      across systems and different user environments.  Typically, it
      will be a name that has a registered owner associated with it, so
      that public identifiers will be guaranteed unique and no two
      entities will have the same public identifier.  In practice,
      PUBLIC identifiers are typically Formal Public Identifiers
      [ISO.8879.1986] but they are not restricted to just that set.  As
      said in [RFC3151]:

         "Any string which consists only of the public identifier
         characters (defined by Production 13 of Extensible Markup
         Language (XML) 1.0 Second Edition) is a legal public

      Therefore, it is legal for a PUBLIC identifier to be a URN if it
      adheres to the character set restrictions.

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      Thus, the identifier registered along with a DTD is its PUBLIC
      identifier.  The only restriction being that it must adhere to the
      character set restrictions.  In the case where the registrant does
      not provide one, the IANA will assign one of the form
      'urn:ietf:params:xml:pi:<id>'.  Registrants are encouraged to
      investigate RFC  3151 [RFC3151] as a recommended method for
      minting a URN that can also be represented as an FPI.

   ns -- XML Namespaces [W3C.REC-xml-names] are named by a URI.  They
      have no real, machine-parseable representation.  Thus, the
      registered document will be either the specification or a
      reference to it.  In the case where a URI is not provided by the
      registrant, the IANA will assign a URN of the form
      'urn:ietf:params:xml:ns:<id> which will be the XML Namespace's

   schema -- XML Schemas [W3C.REC-xmlschema-1] are also identified by a
      URI but their contents are machine parseable.  The IANA registered
      document will be the XML Schema file.  The URN the IANA assigns
      can be used as the URI for the schema and is of the form

   rdfschema -- The Resource Description Format (RDF)
      [W3C.CR-rdf-schema] is an XML serialization of a connected graph
      based data model used for metadata expression.  RDF makes use of
      schemas for RDF that express grammars about relationships between
      URIs.  These grammars are identified by URIs.  The URN assigned by
      the IANA can be used as the identifying URI and is of the form

4.  Registration Procedures

   Until the IANA requests or implements an automated process for the
   registration of these elements, any specifications must make that
   request part of the IANA considerations section of their respective
   documents.  That request must be in the form of the following

      The URI or PUBLIC identifier that identifies the XML component. If
      the registrant is requesting that the IANA assign a URI then this
      field should be specified as "please assign".

   Registrant Contact
      The individual/organization that is the registration contact for
      the component being registered.  Ideally, this will be the name
      and pertinent physical and network contact information.  In the
      case of IETF developed standards, the Registrant will be the IESG.

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      The exact XML to be stored in the registry.  Unless the beginning
      and end of the file is obvious, the document should use the text
      "BEGIN" to mark the beginning of the file and "END" to mark the
      end of the file.  The IANA will insert any text between those two
      strings (minus any page breaks and RFC formatting inserted by the
      RFC Editor) into the file kept in the repository.

5.  Security Considerations

   The information maintained by the IANA will be authoritative and will
   be a target for attack.  In some cases, such as XML Schema and DTDs,
   the content maintained by the IANA may be directly input into
   software.  Thus, extra care should be taken by the IANA to maintain
   the security precautions required for an important reference location
   for the Internet.

   Beyond this concern, there are no other security considerations not
   already found with any other IANA registry.

6.  IANA Considerations

   This document seeks to create a rather large registry for which the
   IANA (at the direction of the IESG) will be primarily responsible.
   The amount of effort required to maintain this registry is not
   insignificant and the policies and procedures surrounding any
   approval process are non-trivial.  The registry is on a First Come
   First Served basis, but a Specification is Required.  Once the IETF
   has some experience with this registry, these policies may change.

   RFC 3553 [RFC3553] specifies that any new registry requiring a name,
   to be assigned below the 'urn:ietf:params' namespace and must specify
   the structure of that space in template form.  The IANA has created
   and will maintain this new sub-namespace:

   Registry-name: xml

   Specification: This document contains the registry specification.
      The namespace is organized with one sub-namespace which is the

   Repository: To be assigned according to the guidelines found above.

   Index value: The class name

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7.  Normative References

   [ISO.8879.1986]       International Organization for Standardization,
                         "Information processing - Text and office
                         systems - Standard generalized markup language
                         (SGML)", ISO Standard 8879, 1986.

   [RFC2119]             Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to
                         Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
                         March 1997.

   [RFC2396]             Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R. and L. Masinter,
                         "Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic
                         Syntax", RFC 2396, August 1998.

   [RFC3151]             Walsh, N., Cowan, J. and P. Grosso, "A URN
                         Namespace for Public Identifiers", RFC 3151,
                         August 2001.

   [RFC3553]             Mealling, M., Masinter, L., Hardie, T. and G.
                         Klyne, "An IETF URN Sub-namespace for
                         Registered Protocol Parameters", BCP 73, RFC
                         3553, June 2003.

   [W3C.CR-rdf-schema]   Brickley, D. and R. Guha, "Resource Description
                         Framework (RDF) Schema Specification 1.0", W3C
                         CR-rdf-schema, March 2000,

   [W3C.REC-xml]         Bray, T., Paoli, J., Sperberg-McQueen, C. and
                         E. Maler, "Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0
                         (2nd ed)", W3C REC-xml, October 2000,

   [W3C.REC-xml-names]   Bray, T., Hollander, D. and A. Layman,
                         "Namespaces in XML", W3C REC-xml-names, January
                         1999, <>.

   [W3C.REC-xmlschema-1] Thompson, H., Beech, D., Maloney, M. and N.
                         Mendelsohn, "XML Schema Part 1: Structures",
                         W3C REC-xmlschema-1, May 2001,

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8.  Intellectual Property Statement

   The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
   intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed to
   pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in
   this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
   might or might not be available; neither does it represent that it
   has made any effort to identify any such rights.  Information on the
   IETF's procedures with respect to rights in standards-track and
   standards-related documentation can be found in BCP-11.  Copies of
   claims of rights made available for publication and any assurances of
   licenses to be made available, or the result of an attempt made to
   obtain a general license or permission for the use of such
   proprietary rights by implementors or users of this specification can
   be obtained from the IETF Secretariat.

   The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
   copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary
   rights which may cover technology that may be required to practice
   this standard.  Please address the information to the IETF Executive

9.  Author's Address

   Michael Mealling
   VeriSign, Inc.
   Mountain View, CA


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10.  Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
   and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
   the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
   Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
   developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
   copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
   followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assignees.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

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