Persistent identifiers (was SAX and delayed entity loading)

Jerome McDonough jmcdonou at
Fri Dec 4 18:41:04 GMT 1998

At 09:58 AM 12/4/1998 -0000, Michael Kay wrote:
>-----Original Message from: W. Eliot Kimber <eliot at>
>>If the XML spec had a Library of Congress number (it may, for all I
>I'd like to know whether it does!

Not as far as I've been able to determine.  It's not in LOCIS (LC's catalog),
and given the nature of the W3C (an industry consortium, and not a formal
standards organization), it's entirely possible the spec. won't get into
LC's catalogers' hands, unless it does go through a formal standards body,
and even then, it might not get a LCCN; I'm looking at a catalog record for
the ISO standard on Bibliographic Filing Principles, and apparently *it* 
doesn't have a LCCN.

>The editor of a journal I am associated
>with has a strong distaste for citations in the form of URL's, on the basis
>that (a) they tend to disappear, and (b) even if they stay around, the
>contents often change. Is there any way an author can produce an acceptable
>scholarly citation that references the XML standard?

Sure.  The theory behind scholarly citation is to provide enough
information regarding the work in question to enable others to locate it.
If I was
preparing a citation for the XML spec in APA styling, I'd probably use
the following:

	Bray, T., Paoli, J., & Sperberg-McQueen, C.M. (Eds.). (1998).  Extensible
	Markup Language (XML) 1.0: W3C recommendation 10-Feb-98 [Online].
	World Wide Web Consortium.
	Available: [1998, December 4].

I share your editor's distaste for URLs, but until URNs are widely
used, they provide the most effective means of enabling scholars to
obtain a resource.  Not providing them at this point does a disservice to
those who want to locate the information.

> More importantly, is
>there any guarantee that a researcher in 100 years' time will be able to
>find a copy of the XML standard?

No, but as has already been mentioned, keeping a resource available is
a decision made by libraries and other organizations based on their
notion of the resource's potential use/value.  If the specification
is important enough, information regarding it will be made maintained;
if not, it will be lost, like 99% of the information produced.

Jerome McDonough -- jmcdonou at library.Berkeley.EDU  |  (......)
Library Systems Office, 386 Doe, U.C. Berkeley     |  \ *  * /
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000    (510) 642-5168          |  \  <>  /
"Well, it looks easy enough...."                   |   \ -- /  SGNORMPF!!!
         -- From the Famous Last Words file        |    ||||

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