RE: infoURI standard officially blessed

From: Hammond, Tony <>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 11:20:18 -0000

Hiya Stefano:

Coupla things:

        1. The "info" FAQ is outdated. We had originally held out the candle
for non-resolution of info URIs, but with feedback realised that there was
no way of escaping this (ie, we couldn't outlaw dereference), and so already
in the previous draft (-03) we allowed that namespace authorities could
include resolution mechanisms within their registration record. (Think of it
as "hints" on how to deal with info URIs.)

        2. You are right that this is a URN type scheme. (A URN lite, in my
point of view.) Reasons for are: URN is just "one" particular URI scheme
(with baggage) - and the partitioning of URI space is as counter-productive
as that which was attempted earlier in trhe 20th c. with Ireland and then
later in India/Pakistan. There is _no_ difference between URI and URN. Pure
accident of history. ("History is a nightmare from which I am trying to
awaken." - says on writer.) (And, btw, don't misunderstand URN. There has
always been the notion to derefernce URN's. They are just not tied to a
given protocol.)

        3. Reasons for bunking off direct IETF regsiation (URI scheme or URN
namspace ID). Don't make me laugh. (I'll wet myself.) To paraphrase the
Clinton election program, "It's not the technology, stupid."

        4. The Interent is not build on the DNS. Period.

        5. Please do not confuse a simple hypermedia application (ie, the
Web) with information space. (If the Web wants to be ringfenced as such,
then the Web is not enough.)

        6. And most importantly, the real issue (for me). If everything
should be conducted through "http", then what point URI? And at athat point,
what point is the Web, bar a local application (which does .dot netty kinds
of things)?

Sorry, you got me on a Monday morning. Although it is sunny out. :) Always
an upside.



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stefano Mazzocchi []
> Sent: 13 November 2005 23:49
> To:
> Subject: Re: infoURI standard officially blessed
> MacKenzie Smith wrote:
> > FYI, Tony Hammond at NPG pointed out to me that the info
> URI proposal
> > has received the blessing of the IETF and is now an
> Official Standard
> >
> >
> > g=10863&rfc_flag=0
> >
> >
> > NISO will maintain the namespace registry and let's hope
> they set it
> > up
> > soon!
> > This will be a great help to us once the registry gets
> going as a way to
> > reference
> > things like PubMed records and published journal articles in a
> > standardized URI
> > kind of a way... we can even urge organizations like the Getty to
> > register their
> > vocabs so that we don't have to invent any more URIs!
> Hmmm, one step forward and two step backwards.
> This URI scheme is really a URN scheme and it's not able to
> locate anything.
> Sure it's useful as identification but completely useless for
> discovery
> as I wouldn't know how to ask for more info about that URI.
> Has the same exact problems that Handles, DOIs, LSIDs and all
> the other
> domain-specific IDs have: you need yet-another DNS system to
> get to the
> information, with no particular benefit if not the one that
> yet-another
> organization is in control of that addressing resolution space.
> While it's perfectly human that trust is clusterized and
> never global,
> it is also extremely frustrating, as a developer, to see such
> moves and,
> more important, to be considered as valuable for the ecosystem while
> they just introduce more work for no value other than more
> abstraction
> from the real problems.
> is as unique as
> urn:handle:1721.1/29466
> or now
> info:handle/1721.1/29466
> but with the first I know what to do to get more info out of it (and
> using HTTP content negotiation, I can ask for an HTML page or an RDF
> page) with the other two, I need to ask yet another DNS (which is
> currently unspecified!!) to give me a URL to locate that URI.
> Why? What is the benefit? that I can use another protocol rather than
> HTTP to get out information? why would I ever want that? HTTP
> is perfect
> for these kind of things! the simplest thing that can possibly work.
> If you want to talk about stuff, any identifier is equivalent.
> But if you want to build a semantic web, you need to be able
> to locate
> stuff or it's going to be utterly useless as a global
> coordination effort.
> I will sound like TimBL here but I really don't believe these
> non-dereferenceable URI schemes are really helping out.
> They sure remove the pressure from the domain name that is
> tasked to do
> the rereferencing, but this pressure is not gone, is just
> displaced...
> and hidden under a carpet of unspecified registry lookup.
> So, if I have to take
> info:handle/1721.1/29466
> transform it into
> which redirects to
> which redirects to
> why is this better than starting out with
> directly?
> The usual answer in computer science is: if you don't know
> how to solve
> a problem, just add another level of indirection.
> That's how this "info" URN scheme feels to me.
> --
> Stefano Mazzocchi
> Research Scientist Digital Libraries Research Group
> Massachusetts Institute of Technology location: E25-131C
> 77 Massachusetts Ave telephone: +1 (617) 253-1096
> Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 email: stefanom at mit . edu
> -------------------------------------------------------------------

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Received on Mon Nov 14 2005 - 11:14:30 EST

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