Namespaces and PURLs

John Cowan cowan at
Thu Jun 4 21:02:08 BST 1998

Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> This sounds like I can use a PURL (see for details) as a
> URI in a namespace declaration.  They are unique and persistent, assuming the
> OCLC doesn't disappear any time soon.

Clearly so.

> Does the "it is not a goal" language mean that I can use a PURL, or should I
> stay away from doing so because some applications may be unable to handle an
> attempted resolution of (and redirection from) that URL?

Any application that purports to understand HTTP URLs can handle
redirection, since that has been part of HTTP since the beginning.
And an application that purports to understand *any* URLs is
extremely likely to understand HTTP URLs.

> Applications don't
> appear to be prohibited from such retrieval; it's just not a goal that
> they do retrieve.

More to the point: 

1)	There may be nothing to retrieve.

2)	Applications should not assume that anything that
	is retrievable is in any way a machine-readable schema.

John Cowan		cowan at
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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