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IETF Draft Sets up Public Namespaces

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the true-names dept.

The Internet 184

figlet writes "A new IETF draft is out (URI Scheme for Information Assets with Identifiers in Public Namespaces). It is a very cool idea and basically introduces namespaces through a new URI scheme. These would be used to refer to resources within their own context. NISO will be the registry for public namespaces. Example (from Herbert Van de Sompel): 'For example, assuming that the namespace of Dewey Decimal Classifications (ddc:) and the namespace of Library of Congress Control Numbers (lccn:) would be registered by their respective authorities, then: the Dewey Decimal Classification 22/eng//004.678 (for the term "Internet") could be expressed as the "info" URI:<info:ddc/22/eng//004.678> and the Library of Congress Control Number 2002022641 could be expressed as the "info" URI <info:lccn/2002022641>.' NISO is going to act as the 'info' registry. Very neat. This basically sets up a parallel web of info spaces, where http/DNS space is just one of many, and anyone can register their namespace 'domain'. Way cool!!"

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interesting, but... (-1)

Dr. Cockulus (684502) | about 11 years ago | (#7095074)

FP biatches! COCK!

FP! -1 Offtopic! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095080)

Lick my nutz you linux fag0rz!

Linux is teh suck!

Re:FP! -1 Offtopic! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095268)

You'll never score "Offtopic" if you write "Linux is teh suck!", you moran!

Dibs (5, Funny)

dze (89612) | about 11 years ago | (#7095083)

I call dibs on the pr0n:// namespace!

Re:Dibs (1)

malx (7723) | about 11 years ago | (#7095141)

> I call dibs on the pr0n:// namespace!


One big flat namespace for domains for namespaces is

Re:Dibs (3, Insightful)

Directrix1 (157787) | about 11 years ago | (#7095234)

How do people find this good? Right now in XML you can just declare your namespace to be anything. So now you have to pay for it? Fuck that.

Old Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095256)

hehehe, reminds me of an old joke:

What would michael's namespace be?


Dibs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095154)

I call dibs on the porn:// namespace!

Re:Dibs (1)

smack_attack (171144) | about 11 years ago | (#7095182)

new tld: .xxx

Too easy.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095251)

Why stop at pr0n (or adult://)? Let's get specific.



Actually, this brings up an interesting point - everyone with a competing interest could very well seek to distinguish their business model with a URI specific to their industry. Doesn't that mean we could have way, way too many of these stupid things?

Verisign (2, Interesting)

pfifltrigg (689684) | about 11 years ago | (#7095093)

Just wait until someone like Verisign gets a hold of this. Utter chaos!

Re:Verisign (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095370)

Just wait until someone like Verisign gets a hold of this. Utter chaos!

Wait until Microsoft geta a hold of this. An "all" namespace!

Re:Verisign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095599)

As soon as business gets wind of this, it will go straight down the tubes. Guaranteed.

well exactly who (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095822)

Needs something more difficult than the present system? Prolly *nix weenies!!! Ya cunts.

Slashdotted (2, Informative)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | about 11 years ago | (#7095100)

Google Cache []

Text of Article (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095187)


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Proposal for the IETF... (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 11 years ago | (#7095103)

URI <info:slashdot/flames/windows/nt/bluescreen>
URI <info:goatsecx/hello>

Forgot one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095240)

URI <info:slashdot/overlords/welcomings/namespace wielding>

Here are some independent reviews of this proposal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095140)

you might find some of these reports interesting

Los Binds Laborotories []

Smegma University of Canada []

Goa Tse Governmental Computing Center of Xia, China []


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095196)

see subject

YHBT YHL HAND (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095217)


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095307)

how dare you call goatse garbage link?


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095409)

Yup, when I get "stung" on the page I always laugh. The "oh that's disgusting" crowd don't see the humour I guess.


emilymildew (646109) | about 11 years ago | (#7095471)

Always? You mean you get "stung," as you so quaintly put it, more than once? Dude, the domain name the link goes to is RIGHT THERE.

I'm really confused (4, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | about 11 years ago | (#7095143)

This seems like XML, only even more confusing. Arbitrary key names are now URIs? Where is the uniformity in this system?

Without strict discipline, users will create their own, incompatible URIs in the same namespace. Their needs to be a guiding hand in all this-a document or company that oversees this project VERY carefully. We don't want this turning into some aimless metanarrative like the "Information Superhighway".

Re:I'm really confused (4, Informative)

axlrosen (88070) | about 11 years ago | (#7095393)

Arbitrary key names are now URIs?

Uh no.

There will be ONE new top-level scheme, "info". It will have (presumably a small-ish number of) second-level "namespaces". Each namespace will be a well-defined system run by some organization. So you could imagine an ISBN namespace, so a URI might look like "info:isbn:0465026567".

The "info" scheme, and therefore the list of namespaces, will be controlled by an existing standards body called NISO [] . It's their job to impose the discipline on these URIs. End-users won't get to create their own - only NISO-approved bodies with a well-run namespace can add to this system. Sounds like a good idea to me. I can rely on the fact that any legitimate "info" URI will be well-organized and sensible, I hope.

Re:I'm really confused (1)

ichimunki (194887) | about 11 years ago | (#7095633)

So, essentially, this solves a problem that doesn't exist, and in a way that sounds like it could create new problems.

Consider that normally the protocal segment of a URI means something about the protocol. http: indicates use of HTTP methods for passing messages. ftp:, gopher:, mailto:, file:, etc: ... same thing. Info tells me nothing (ironically) about how to communicate with the resource, unless they are planning to define this further it's a useless idea. It also tells me nothing about what type of info

I get no sense of what this accomplishes that URLs (and appropriate server-side scripts) like or do not. In these cases the server can return information via HTTP that corresponds to the identifiers "LC1234" or "515.1212".

Genuinely reliable (2, Funny)

AllenChristopher (679129) | about 11 years ago | (#7095666)

You can rely on a rich new vein of controversial decisions on minor points of particular namespaces for Slashdot to cover. You can also rely on hundreds of us, batty-eyed from trying to find a bug, safely venting our anger on these design mistakes instead of throttling every co-worker listed before us in a module's revision history.

Domain squatters (1, Insightful)

jmerelo (216716) | about 11 years ago | (#7095147)

That mean there'll be domain squatters in many different levels. And for free!

So who do I pay (4, Interesting)

antirename (556799) | about 11 years ago | (#7095158)

To get a namespace registered? ICANN? Verisign? This part was interesting: The "info" URI scheme explicitly decouples identification from resolution. Applications SHOULD NOT assume that an "info" URI can be dereferenced to a representation of the resource identified by the URI, though some business processes MAY make "info" URIs resolvable either directly or conditionally. The purposes of the "info" URI scheme are the identification of information assets and the standardization of rules for declaring and comparing identity of information assets without regard to any resolution of the URI or even whether the information asset identified by the URI is accessible on the Internet. This makes it look like this was intended more for internal use than for routing to specific information on the net. Anyone have a clear idea how and why this would be used on the internet?

Re:So who do I pay (4, Informative)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | about 11 years ago | (#7095250)

Don't bother yet. Realize that this is an initial draft (you use all .0 software right? - Same goes for standards documents) AND an individual submission.

I haven't looked in on the politics of this one but there are two kinds of individual submissions

1 - Any idiot can mail something properly formatted to and get it published as an internet draft... don't believe me look here Individual Submissions [] - you will find this draft somewhere on this page

2 - A working group is looking for a new working group item - so they ask the author to post an individual submission so they can consider his work before making a decision - These actually become RFCs

Want a clue on WG items in the ietf - they come in the form draft-ietf-WGName-topic-rev.txt - The key is to not be fooled by people that post draft-ietf-lastname-topic-rev.txt

Re:So who do I pay (0, Flamebait)

nearlygod (641860) | about 11 years ago | (#7095396)

My AOL 9.0 rocks!!!

Re:So who do I pay (1)

cybaea (79975) | about 11 years ago | (#7095312)

> So who do I pay to get a namespace registered? ICANN? Verisign?

National Information Standards Organization (NISO) :

(Section 4 of the document)

Re:So who do I pay (1)

simonecaldana (561857) | about 11 years ago | (#7095429)


it does not resolve to anything

(luckily it wasn't .com or .net or else Verisign could set up an on-the-fly registrar site for info: URIs :))

Yay! (1)

MasTRE (588396) | about 11 years ago | (#7095163)

Just what we needed! Quick, someone publish 10000 pages on the XML schema to implement it!

important info (4, Informative)

ih8apple (607271) | about 11 years ago | (#7095168)

From the article:

"The "info" URI scheme explicitly decouples identification from resolution. Applications SHOULD NOT assume that an "info" URI can be dereferenced to a representation of the resource identified by the URI, though some business processes MAY make "info" URIs resolvable either directly or conditionally. The purposes of the "info" URI scheme are the identification of information assets and the standardization of rules for declaring and comparing identity of information assets without regard to any resolution of the URI or even whether the information asset identified by the URI is accessible on the Internet."

In other words, the info URI's will not be useful for anything other than providing context and identification. There is no resolution mechanism in place, nor do they intend to have any standard resolution mechanism, which makes the practical use of these URI's almost nonexistant (as current designed.)

Re:important info (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 11 years ago | (#7095516)

Great :-( Now spammers will have a whole new way of getting to us without our being able to trace them(since info:// is not guaranteed to resolve to anything). Then there's squatters, faked A records, etc. This is another "solution" looking for a problem. Why not fix smtp first.

If this ever comes about, I want the info://yhbt resource :-)

Oh, great... (4, Funny)

MouseR (3264) | about 11 years ago | (#7095170)

With addresses like URI:, I'll spend more time on the phone trying to help my mother get where she needs to.

ALL mistyped identifiers to go to "Hustler mag"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095185)

ALL mistyped identifiers to go to "Hustler magazine" (or the highest monthly payer).

Similar to Verisigns new 'service' to direct you to web-bugged spam pages autogenerated when you mistype a domain in a browser.

With no checksum as part of the proposal this is an idiotic system full of mistyped symbols.

but they WANT mistyped dewey decimal numebrs because then they can redirect you to porn merchants.

A new revenue model!

Um.. (4, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | about 11 years ago | (#7095190)

Anyone else notice doesn't exist?

How exactly will browsers implement this new protocol?

I'm confused about the concept of a "public namespace". If these new URIs are intended to point to information, where will that information be stored and how will it be retrieved?

Re:Um.. (2, Informative)

vlad_petric (94134) | about 11 years ago | (#7095223)

How exactly will browsers implement this new protocol?

With the mighty Konqueror you only need a new kio slave :). The others will require a plugin (a very simple one actually)

Re:Um.. (1)

Ianoo (711633) | about 11 years ago | (#7095671)

I think you'll find Konqueror and Nautilus both already have info:// URLs for dealing with GNU info pages. So this'll have to change. Wonderful, progress, isn't it.

Re:Um.. (2, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | about 11 years ago | (#7095711)

RTFA: its not a URL, it explicitly says that it "should not" be assumed to point at anything.

It is simply a standardized (by NISO) format for identifying something. Like the example given in the /. post:

"info:lccn/2002022641" becomes the only way to refer to the given LCCN as a URI. No worries about "should it be 'LCCN', or 'LibraryCongressControlNumber', or should the number come first, or is 'lc' enough to let people know that its a library of congress number"... it explicitly sets the proper formatting for a Library of Congress control number URI. And so on. Any organization which wishes to standardize its namespace can apply to NISO to Make It So (tm). NISO assumes the responsibility of making sure that if the Library of Congress is using "lccn", then the Literary Clubs of Congo Nationalists cannot. And thats it. Thats all this does.

Some further possibilities (5, Interesting)

jezor (51922) | about 11 years ago | (#7095200)

This has some interesting possibilities, especially in the context of representing real-world elements in virtual space, and assist in more accurate search engine results. For example:

info:map/40.47N/73.58W for NYC's Central Park

could be encoded into any Web page about Central Park; and

info:palm/model/P80900US for the Palm Tungsten C

could be included in every online retailer's site where the T|C is sold.

This would seriously enhance the now piece-meal effort to pick the best search term to find specific items that may have common names. {Jonathan}

Prof. Jonathan I. Ezor
Associate Professor of Law and Technology
Director, Institute for Business, Law and Technology (IBLT)
Touro Law Center
300 Nassau Road, Huntington, NY 11743
Tel: 631-421-2244 x412 Fax: 516-977-3001
BizLawTech Blog:

Re:Some further possibilities (4, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 11 years ago | (#7095398)

Yes, and unfortunately, like other semantic web-style proposals, it will take about 5 minutes to be abused so much by people trying to harvest clicks and user attention that it will rapidly become useless. If we can't rely on users to accurately list meta-keywords in HTML documents, why would any other such identifiers work better, without some sort of meaningful web-of-trust system built in?

Just a thought. I would hate to go looking for info:palm/model/P80900US and find 8 million links to people trying to get me to surf over to their porn site.

Re:Some further possibilities (4, Funny)

Greedo (304385) | about 11 years ago | (#7095430)

Just a thought. I would hate to go looking for info:palm/model/P80900US and find 8 million links to people trying to get me to surf over to their porn site.

No, that would be "info:palm/hairy"

Re:Some further possibilities (1)

valdis (160799) | about 11 years ago | (#7095449)

The poster you replied to had it right, and you took a left turn.

info:palm/model/P80900US isn't a *LINK* to anything. It's a way of encoding "this is a Palm model P809.."

If you think about it as a way to standardize the syntax of meta-keywords to make them more searchable, you'll be closer to the intent...

Re:Some further possibilities (2, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 11 years ago | (#7095499)

I never said that a URI was a link to anything. I realize that this new info URI is just a standardization of metadata, which is why I referred to the semantic web, another attempt to standardize metadata. I've been trying to explain for years to various people that XML URIs are not necessarily actual HTTP accessible resource addresses, and I always end up in futile discussions on the topic. Too confusing for many people, when people invent descriptive URIs that look exactly like resource locations in a particular addressing scheme based on DNS. So I think in a way, the info scheme is a good one if it reduces confusion about the meaning of these URIs.

But my major point is that metadata without trust is not very useful in today's world. Any reference I made to links was only incidental (describing the current search engine situation).

Re:Some further possibilities (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095512)

Actually is gets worst: since people abuse the meta-tags, if the metas get more precise they'll just abuse the system with more precision (hence some keywords will become absolutely useless because of such abuse).

One example: you can't search for "anime" anymore without getting thousands of pr0n sites (if I search for "anime" I don't want "hentai" - anime is a currently abused keyword used by pr0n sites).

Re:Some further possibilities (1)

jezor (51922) | about 11 years ago | (#7095466)

Actually, this kind of identifier would probably be easier to protect under trademark law than domain names, since there would be little way for the "URI-squatter" to argue that he wasn't referring to Palm's products when he incorporated "info:palm/model/P80900US" into his site. {Jonathan}

Re:Some further possibilities (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 11 years ago | (#7095569)

Arguably true, but we're back to square one, relying on a centralized arbiter of authority to issue and manage use of the info namespace. Who gets to use info:palm? What if another legitimate trademark holder on "palm" in a different field wants info:palm? Don't richer metadata schemes that are not strictly hierarchical, for example something based on RDF or the "semantic web" achieve the same results with fewer issues and opportunities for confusion, more opportunities for distributed trust, and a lesser requirement for a centralized registration repository?

We need a common, useful and powerful language for describing metadata, not another broken, inflexible system like this.

Re:Some further possibilities (1)

tuggy (694581) | about 11 years ago | (#7095758)

yeah.. and then info:os/linux and you'll get a M$ site that teaches you how to switch..

This is bad (2, Insightful)

Cranx (456394) | about 11 years ago | (#7095206)

We already have top-level domains for that sort of thing. The resource identifier system (http:, gopher:, etc.) are already in-use and they're NOT used as namespaces.

We don't need this sort of half-thought-out component to the domain name system. If you're going to do anything with resource identifiers, make a change to BIND to allow DN servers to map them to A records.

You know what's going to happen. People are going to register these namespaces and use them instead of domain names. Then we're going to have two parallel systems: the name.dom style and the space:name style.

Dumb dumb dumb.

Re:This is bad (2, Insightful)

valdis (160799) | about 11 years ago | (#7095302)

It's only dumb if you are thinking of using it for resolving actual Internet resources. In fact, if you actually *read* (gasp, shock) the draft, it's *really* about providing a *SYNTAX* so you can represent things like a Dewey Decimal number or a product number or the VIN of your car or....

Re:This is bad (0)

Cranx (456394) | about 11 years ago | (#7095503)

Not my job. If I had time to read through every single reference posted here, I would have to change my status to "unemployed." I went off what the article poster wrote (gasp, shock at me for trusting the article poster!), and I keyed off a few things the poster said that led me astray.

But you're right, this is actually meant as a general-purpose system of identification, not an alternate way to resolve IPs.

It's Already patented. (4, Funny)

jpvlsmv (583001) | about 11 years ago | (#7095207)

Check out URI:<info:USPTO/patents/12345666789>


Re:It's Already patented. (1)

borgboy (218060) | about 11 years ago | (#7095372)

Actually, the info-namespace component of the uri should be normalized to lowercase, and I believe you need to escape the slash between the info-namespace and the identifier. See section 5 of the draft for more information. Maybe you just wanted to use the un-normalized form....

Nice, but not quite perfect (1)

asb (1909) | about 11 years ago | (#7095211)

There are only a bit over 17000 TLA's and there already are 3 candidates for DDC (according to

  • Dewey Decimal Classification
  • Defense Documentation Center for Scientific & Technical Information
  • Department of Design and Construction (New York City)

Re:Nice, but not quite perfect (1)

gsdali (707124) | about 11 years ago | (#7095587)

And that's just in English.

Re:Nice, but not quite perfect (1)

op00to (219949) | about 11 years ago | (#7095613)


that wasn't so hard, use your imagination!

I'm packing my tent (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095222)

Cos I'm going namespace-camping!

URI:// (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095225)

so did the University of Rhode Island make this or are they just luck enough to get their school promo-ed in every webpages now? when i type URI into google what am i gonna get?

How come... (1)

j3thr0 (189013) | about 11 years ago | (#7095230)

is better than

Re:How come... (1)

jezor (51922) | about 11 years ago | (#7095289)

Because the URL is a single Web page; the URI is an identifier that can be incorporated to every single Web page that fits the description. URLs and URIs do two different things; the former is a pointer to a file; the latter adds descriptive depth in an ideally universal way. {Jonathan}

Prof. Jonathan I. Ezor
Associate Professor of Law and Technology
Director, Institute for Business, Law and Technology (IBLT)
Touro Law Center
300 Nassau Road, Huntington, NY 11743
Tel: 631-421-2244 x412 Fax: 516-977-3001
BizLawTech Blog []

Re:How come... (1)

valdis (160799) | about 11 years ago | (#7095357)

DDC is a acronym for the Dewey Decimal System. is apparently a hostname.

info:ddc/22/eng//004.678 is talking about a *DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM* number, *NOT* a URL on a host.

Consider this:


Thats talking about a *temperature*, not a website called temp.

Re:How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095607)

Consider this:


Thats talking about a *temperature*, not a website called temp.

No it's not, it's referring to the file 23 in my C: drive, or something, who cares. That's where this scheme fails in the same way that the DNS has failed. You and I disagree on what info:temp means and it is down to whichever of us registers temp first to win.

Winning is no good, we both must exist which we can't do until both of us are separately registered and we can each define our own info:temp within our own domains. I can then use yours and you can use mine.

OIDs, hideous though they may be, are excellent for separating out distinct entities and allow them to arbitrarily define their own namespace.

It then all breaks down again as the set of nicknames that you would use to shortcut the twenty nodes in the OID tree to reach me become the bottleneck as the other Anonymous Cowards want to use the nickname.

It's a tough question and URI<info:temp> doesn't solve it.

Way cool?! (2, Funny)

antic (29198) | about 11 years ago | (#7095238)

Very neat. This basically sets up a parallel web of info spaces, where http/DNS space is just one of many, and anyone can register their namespace 'domain'. Way cool!!

Err, things haven't been way cool!! since the Eighties...

Isn't our industry trying to propel mankind into the future? Forwards is that way...

Combine this with RFID... (2, Interesting)

DarthAle (83736) | about 11 years ago | (#7095249)

...and you can address (almost) everything! Look forward to a URI <info:RDID/433935473983> coming your way any time now..

What karma?

I knew the (1)

fred911 (83970) | about 11 years ago | (#7095558)

CueCat was way ahead of it's time. Wow.. the possibilities!

What about oid namespaces (1)

dmeranda (120061) | about 11 years ago | (#7095255)

The URI namespace is already quite broad and has many ways to define "public" namespaces, usually based upon the URN [] subset of the URI specification. Just a few open-ended namespaces so far include the OID-based URI namespace, such as "urn:oid:", (RFC 3061 [] ). You also have RFC 3151 [] for public identifier URIs.

Really, there is nothing new technically here. The only useful thing it brings beyond the URN spec is the new registration authority. It can still prove useful, but it's not like it's actually solving any real technical limitation in our current set of URIs.

Still need DNS equivalent... (1)

cybaea (79975) | about 11 years ago | (#7095261)

Writing a spec is the easy part (and this one seems particularly trivial). Implementing it is a lot harder.

The main missing information seems to be a DNS equivalent function. It is one thing to introduce yet another central registrar to insure "against hostile usurpation or inappropriate usage of registered service marks" (groan!) but how are we going to access the information? Section 4.2 says

The "info" Registry will be publicly accessible and will support discovery (by both humans and machines) of [...lots of stuff...]

and it is clear from section 6 (Normalization and Comparison of "info" URIs) that any sensible implementation would need access, but how?

The information they want to return is much more complex than what DNS returns and DNS is not a trivial infrastructure.

Suggestions? Volunteers? :-)

Re:Still need DNS equivalent... (2, Insightful)

axlrosen (88070) | about 11 years ago | (#7095442)

The only things that need to be accessible is a list of the "namespaces" (i.e. the second-level bits). For example, it'll say that the "ddc" namespace is run by the Dewey Decimal Society (or whatever) and give their contact information. It won't resolve these URIs into resources, they way that a browser resolves a URL into a web page. (Though in some cases it may point to a resolver mechanism.)

Don't expect to type these into your browser and view the results. This system is more for tagging and identification, not resolution.

That's nothing (1)

__past__ (542467) | about 11 years ago | (#7095266)

With the data uri scheme [] , I can include the whole internet in my URIs!

Re:That's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095346)

I think you will find data: uri's are limited to 1k though mozilla will happily accept more.

Re:That's nothing (2, Funny)

Guillermito (187510) | about 11 years ago | (#7095485)

Wow! I didn't know that!

And it works with Mozilla !

Try selecting this text (taken from the RFC) and pasting it on a browser window!

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODdhMAAwAPAAAAAAAP///y wA AAAAMAAw
AAAC8IyPqcvt3wCcDkiLc7C0qwyGHhSWpjQu5yqmCYsapyuvUU lvONmOZtfzgFz
ByTB10QgxOR0TqBQejhRNzOfkVJ+5YiUqrXF5Y5lKh/DeuNcP5 yLWGsEbtLiOSp
a/TPg7JpJHxyendzWTBfX0cxOnKPjgBzi4diinWGdkF8kjdfny cQZXZeYGejmJl
ZeGl9i2icVqaNVailT6F5iJ90m6mvuTS4OK05M0vDk0Q4XUtwv KOzrcd3iq9uis
F81M1OIcR7lEewwcLp7tuNNkM3uNna3F2JQFo97Vriy/Xl4/f1 cf5VWzXyym7PH

Does it work with IE too? (sorry, no Windows box at hand)

Are these really URIs? (1)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | about 11 years ago | (#7095267)

All the examples given - Dewey, Library of Congress etc - are classification schemes. They don't identify *resources* in the usual sense of the word.

In other words, if I type a Dewey info: URI into Moz n+3, what do I get? The description for that code? A list of Gutenberg texts? A list of ISBNs? An Amazon search result?

Anybody have examples of how these URIs would be used in practice?

Re:Are these really URIs? (1)

dmeranda (120061) | about 11 years ago | (#7095365)

Yes, they do identify resources, or things. No, they don't tell you how or where to find them. This is the difference between a URI and a URL. A URI is just a name that identifies something, and that something doesn't even have to exist in the electronic world nor be reachable over the Internet.

It is always up to applications to determine what to do, if anything, with a URI which is not also a URL. It is foreseeable that Mozilla could develop a "info" uri plugin model, whereby a plugin could be written which processes an "info:isbn" uri for instance and does take you to an Amazon/BN webpage. But that's an advantage of a URI over a URL; the "location" is not hardcoded into the identifier.

Re:Are these really URIs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095806)

What you'll get will depend on the local context in which you resolve the identifier. For a variety of reasons, libraries (particularly academic libraries) would like to have actionable identifiers for electronic resources that resolve to different locations depending on the context of the person doing the resolution. For example, assume both NYU and Harvard have subscriptions to the electronic journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, but through different online journal providers (and so each institution has different URLs to access the journal). If I create an info dentifier like "info:issn/0264-9381" to reference he e-journal, and have a local resolution mechanism for handling info identifiers, then I can have this identifier resolve to the copy of the e-journal subscribed to by NYU for me, while Harvard can have a separate resolution mechanism which points to their copy for their local users.

All of their example namespaces actually can be used to identify individual resources (although you would need a Cutter number in the case of Dewey and those can be specific to a particular library, defeating the generally use-able identifier notion).

My problem is I can't understand why we need this when we have the URN RFC out there already; this doesn't really accomplish anything beyond that. Their justification is that they don't think many info URIs will be permanent, and URNs are intended to be permanent identifiers, but that strikes me as a bit of a cop out when they start using LCCNs and DDCs in their examples. I've been noticing several proposals in the library community that smack of "People should be using URNs, but they're all apparently too stupid to do that, so we're going to reintroduce them under a different name and maybe this time they'll wise up." If half the time and energy that went into these proposals went into building URN resolution support into Mozilla and other browsers, URNs would be in widespread use by now.

Here we go again. (2, Insightful) (156602) | about 11 years ago | (#7095276)

I remember radio ads way back in 1997, 98 where they'd read out the entire URL, which was excruciating:

"H T T P colon slash slash W W W dot (pause) whatever dot (pause) com"

Are we going to have to relive that if new namespaces are added?

Re:Here we go again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095530)

I think they used to say "backslash backslash" in error on radio adds. Wait, maybe I'm thinking of '95-'96. Nevermind.

Dewey Decimal is not a good example (2, Insightful)

furrygeek (657108) | about 11 years ago | (#7095277)

Perhaps the Dewey Decimal classification isn't the best example. After all, it's not in the public domain [] .

And how is Mozilla going to handle this? (0)

elmegil (12001) | about 11 years ago | (#7095329)

A while back, as my company was/is migrating from Netscape 4 (which supports telnet:// and rlogin://) to Netscape 6/7/Moz 1.X, I investigated what was up with the fact that Mozilla and all its derivatives no longer support telnet:// or rlogin:// on Unix machines. What I found was pretty disturbing. There is a section of the code, that is OS specific, that is supposed to handle "extensions" to the URI tags. Windows implements this by digging into the OS registry, pulling out the right executable, and calling it. This is evidenced by the fact that you can use the newer browers on a Windows box, click on a telnet:// link and voila! you have a hyperterm or telnet connecting you where you wanted to go.

The same source code in the Unix version appears to have been cut/pasted from the Windows version and then had everything but the first handful of comments (which still refer to the Windows Registry!) excised. Leaving no way directly in the code to extend your URI tags.

I have *recently* seen that someone hacked up an XPI to re-implement telnet:// and a few other choice things, but his code only works on Moz 1.3 and relatively new Firebird installations, so it doesn't suit my needs. I tried poking at it to make it default some values, to see if that was all that was wrong with the earlier stuff (i.e. no way to set up the "helper apps" from NS 6/7 etc) but that didn't work.

So how do we expect the Mozilla family of browsers to handle even more new tags? Is there going to be some standard way to extend this, without resorting to XPI hacks that are heavily version dependant? Will someone actually implement the OS-specific code necessary? (no, don't ask me to do it, I'm a support guy, not a coder, and anything I'd write would be horrible I'm sure). I can't see how this is likely to fly very far....

Very Interesting (1)

rpk (9273) | about 11 years ago | (#7095341)

I bet the RDF advocates (here's a primer [] ) are going to love this, because RDF already uses URIs to refer to objects, although the URIs are often used just as a namespace themselves. In other words, just because you see a URLI in a RDF fragments doesn't mean it actually exists, it's just a name for something. This is not unlike XML namespace use of URIs. If you could refer to more kinds of objects with URLs that could be resolved, that would make RDF more useful.

Potential for abuse by stupid people (3, Informative)

jezor (51922) | about 11 years ago | (#7095356)

Something just occured to me:

How quickly do you think that some unthinking government agency or financial institution will start including Social Security numbers into URIs, and make them publicly searchable? It will probably happen accidentally, given that so many institutions use SS#s as identifiers even though they're not supposed to.



Prof. Jonathan I. Ezor
Associate Professor of Law and Technology
Director, Institute for Business, Law and Technology (IBLT)
Touro Law Center
300 Nassau Road, Huntington, NY 11743
Tel: 631-421-2244 x412 Fax: 516-977-3001
BizLawTech Blog []

Re:Potential for abuse by stupid people (1)

pknoll (215959) | about 11 years ago | (#7095664)

Government agencies are restricted regarding whether or not they can ask for your SSN to use it as an identifier. Shortly, they must include a Prvacy Act Disclosure Notice [] , which will describe which law allows them to ask, whether or not you have to comply, and what will happen if you don't.

Private companies, individuals, etc. are not subject to these restrictions at all, so you could potentially see some abuse there. However, just as there is no law that says companies can't ask for your SSN, there's no law that says you have to give it to them.

David Brin... (3, Interesting)

el_DemeNTe (712132) | about 11 years ago | (#7095358)

uses something similar to this form of information addressing in a book called "Earth", which he wrote in 1990. Essentially, he used what seem to be either ISBN plus some other alphanumeric identifier when the main character pulls up the "screenshots" that appear in the book's text. It is almost scary to see the parallels between this and what he was "predicting" for the internet.

When I first read this article, it was the first thing that came to mind. (Maybe because I'm reading it now! :-)


Hah! (2, Funny)

el_flynn (1279) | about 11 years ago | (#7095362)

URI info is belong to us.


Is "sex" and "business" already taken? (-1, Redundant)

semanticgap (468158) | about 11 years ago | (#7095387)

I bet domain squatting companies are salivating over this!

too damn confusing (1)

ColeNielsen (635570) | about 11 years ago | (#7095410)

Sure It's a great idea and could help organize the web a little... It would be expensive to implement as new software woul dhave to be purchased EVERYWHRE -> How confusing would all this be for the average computer user? -> Would it still be possible to effectively search across namespaces?

Just food for thought

running out of characters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095412)

In the 80's it was underscores:

In the 90's it was periods:
System.out.println("Hello 90's World!!");
www . whatever . com

In the new millennium it's SLASHES?!

Call me crazy, but.... (1)

ctxspy (94924) | about 11 years ago | (#7095418)

I am beginning to get the "point" of this.

It's definitely not going to be a 'host lookup' mechanism.. It's kinda like a search engine

Instead of typing keywords into your "search engine", you type the URI into there...

THEN, all the pages that contain that URI in their page body will be returned as a list.

It's a way to specify data more closely, hence hoping to make for better search engines.

(That's enoguh of me talking out of my ass now)

This is URN in a new dress (1)

hta (7593) | about 11 years ago | (#7095434)

1) this is just the same idea as URN (provide identification rather than protocol:hostport). That's a basically good idea, IMHO. But we don't need a multitude of slightly different variants.
2) the DDDS (name resolution that can be based on DNS) is already an Internet (proposed) standard that can be used to resolve arbitrary URIs with DNS support - if the authors so desire.
References at an RFC library near you.

Still Waiting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7095470)

Well, this may be all well and good (dont'
know, haven't looked at it closely), but I'm
still waiting for a sensible addition to the
.us namespace:

Additional namespaces for UPC's, etc.? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 11 years ago | (#7095472)

Are we going to see UPC namespaces, and other databases converted over? Personally, I'd like to see a standardized way to access a company's product page for a given product. For example, one of my art prints could be listed under info:devinmoore/prints/printx or something like that. IS that what this service will do, beyond the library classification? Furthermore, will the library of Congress publish all their books online to the system? That would be rad!

Sure (0)

borius (711380) | about 11 years ago | (#7095524)

But it won't be any good until major browsers (IE, Mozilla, Safari) support it out of the box.

UR* Jungle... (4, Insightful)

oren (78897) | about 11 years ago | (#7095657)

Quick, without peeking at the answer [] , what's the difference between a URI, a URL, and a URN? OK, now that we are all on the same page :-), what is "info:"? you'd expect it to be a URN. It isn't (from the RFC):

7.2 Why Not Use a URN Namespace ID for Identifiers from Public Namespaces?

RFC 2396 [RFC2396] states that a "URN differs from a URL in that it's primary purpose is persistent labeling of a resource with an identifier". An "info" URI on the other hand does not assert persistence of resource names or of the resource itself, but rather declares namespaces of identifiers managed according to the policies and business models of the Namespace Authorities. Some of these namespaces will not have persistence of identifiers as a primary purpose, while others will have locator semantics as well as name semantics. It would therefore be inappropriate to employ a URN Namespace ID for such namespaces.

Which I read to mean that an info: URI may, or may not, be a URL (i.e., useful for actually accessing the resource); may, or may not, be a URN (i.e., provides some semblence of a chance that it means the same thing today as it did yesterday). Oh, did I mention that it may, or may not, be case sensitive, and may or may not be subject to scheme-specific normalization rules?

It seems that someone (say "Perfection") got fed up holding the fort agains a hoard of requests for top-level URI schemes - or someone (say "Kludge") got fed up with the demand that these schemes actually have some well defined semantics. Or both. Either way, they had this brilliant notion... why don't we have a junk^H^H^H^Hinfo: URI scheme with as little control over semantics as we can get away with? If some top-level URI scheme sucks, we'll just put it there. We'll spin off a company to be the registrar so "Perfection" will be able to pretend not to see it, and "Kludge" will be able to register all the junk^H^H^H^Hinformation URIs he wants!

I guess it does make some sort of twisted sense... In the meanwhile, proposals like the taguri proposal [] languish. Here's a years-old proposal that attempts to define coherent semantics for time-persistant identifiers, without requiring a (new) registration agency. We can't have that, can we?

Sigh. Insert mandatory "I for one welcome the arrival of our new info:disposable:gjyr4784ghf89yf4h URI masters" post here...

relationships with DOI? (2, Insightful)

deepsky (11076) | about 11 years ago | (#7095677)

Looks to me this proposal is another way of uniquely tagging digital content.
Could someone explain if and how this proposal is somehow similar to (or different from) the Digital Object Identifier [] standard (DOI)? DOI, although proprietary (like EAN, UPC, etc) is gaining momentum; for example, here in Italy is going to be adopted as a general standard for the public administration documents.

Dumb (1)

Shwag (20142) | about 11 years ago | (#7095708)

It is still going to require another registry that has central control. All this does is "one up" the game. What would be better is a global decentralized directory where anyone can broadcast their own name, and it is verified and authenticated by users storing the proper authentication key. This is slightly similair to what Skype [] has done with their global decentralized user directory.

Any downfalls you can name for this system still doesn't rule out the benefits of it being run IN ADDITION to central controled DNS with problems like Verisign.

Better (1)

Petronius (515525) | about 11 years ago | (#7095794)

I'm registering <info:*/*>

Call me Verisign-boy

Example case requires Dewey Decimal license fee! (1)

morcheeba (260908) | about 11 years ago | (#7095853)

The Dewey Decimal System is a highly protected trademark of Online Computer Library Center [] -- use it without paying a license fee, and they'll sue you [] (another story) []

From their FAQ: May I use the DDC to organize information on my Web site? []

The DDC is owned by OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated ("OCLC"). We do consider licensing arrangements for the DDC database. To request a licensing proposal, please send an e-mail message to, describing in detail your proposed use of the DDC.
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