Rob Raisch (
Sun, 11 Jul 1993 20:29:49 -0400 (EDT)

On Sun, 11 Jul 1993, Terry Allen wrote:

> Comments on Rob Raisch's proposed REGISTRAR for URNs.
> Your definition of an Instance doesn't quite allow it to be the
> result of a query that might have differing results (assuming
> the server knows where I am, I could say, "send me the
> addresses of all the bookstores in my area that carry ORA books").
> I think "indistinguishable" is unneeded: the owner says they're
> the same (for the purposes at hand) and that's good enough.

That kind of request, " my area...", is implicit in this
whole thing. The idea is that any request is answered by the registrar
with a list of responses which are ordered according to their
'appropriateness' in terms of retrieval. This is not a general directory
service. It is a service which provides enough information to make the
best retrieval decision.

> You say that "the actual content of a URN is that to which it
> refers," which doesn't make a lot of sense when taken literally.
> What's your thought here?

The URN itself contains no information whatsoever. The URN is
simply a label and carries no semantic value. The fact that you can read
this kind of URN is an artifact of its composition and until we can get
away from passing around URNs as human-readable text, there is some value
in making them human readable. This will not be the case in the future.

> Your concluding discussion of intellectual property, while
> relevant to Internet publishing and URNs, doesn't seem necessary in
> connection with Registrar, which is a concrete proposal for
> making URNs work.

Well, this is an area of some debate. My proposal that URNs refer
to products and not to property is not in line with much of the thinking
which has gone into this whole area. I felt that there would be value in
explaining my proposal from the standpoint of the general discussion and
lay some context to understand what I was talking about.

> Strategic Questions:
> URNs may never be destroyed, yet I might want to give URNs to
> every chunk of every section of every book in every series we publish,
> for all editions. (Is that right?) So a whole lot of URNs are
> going to build up, and quickly, too. How would you figure out
> when to delist a URN? Wouldn't the number of URNs eventually
> make it slower to use Registrar than to try some URLs in the
> first place? This is a general issue with URNs, not specific
> to Registrar.

There is no such thing as 'delisting' a URN. URNs are forever.
Unless you intend on selling a chunk of a section of a book of a series,
there is no value in registering a URN for each chunk. With efficient
indexing, slowness of retrieval is not an issue. Yes, there will be a
proliferation of URNs, that is life. There is a proliferation of human
names, social security numbers and registration of stars in the heavens.
What's your point? <smile>

> The amount of info you require for the URN Record Format is
> considerable. Is it all needed? On a related point, why should
> Registrar support querying for CREATOR? If you are an individual
> who just wants to put some stuff online, you are likely not to
> bother with registering your URN if it's this much work. Is that
> a bug or a feature?

This is a proposal which meets our immediate needs as publishers,
and offers flexibility for others. I threw in things I thought would be
of value. The template is not written in stone. There are other
efforts that define templates for information, (IAFA.) What
information would *YOU* like to see here?

Thanks for the comments.