Public Identifiers

John Cowan cowan at
Wed Sep 23 17:57:07 BST 1998

Steven R. Newcomb wrote:

> > ... your FPI looks a whole lot like a Sears FPI; it appears
> > to be in Sears space.  What is the source of your right to create a
> > name within Sears space?
> I didn't create it.  Sears did, when it published its 1922 Farm
> Catalog.

Not so.  Sears created a catalog in 1922, but not an FPI.

In any event, I think I understand the source of our disagreements.
As I (and Chris Maden, apparently) read the owner-identifier in FPIs,
it is the creator of the name, not of the thing named, that
appears there.  Apparently you disagree:
> So, there must be many occasions when formal public identifiers, or
> something like them (and URNs, or something like them) will need to be
> created by persons who lack any special authority to create them.
> They must include the name of the authority that created, published,
> or is otherwise associated with the referenced information.

This seems to clearly indicate that for you an FPI is like a
bibliography entry: it holds the publisher, the format, the title,
and the language of the publication.  Anybody can create one as
long as they tell the truth.

For me, an FPI is a name assigned by a namer (which can be anyone),
and its parts are the namer, the format, the assigned name, and the
language.  I can name anything if I list myself as the namer, but
I cannot concoct names listing someone else as the namer, any more
than I can create an ISBN for a book I publish that has the wrong
publisher prefix.

> If FPIs and/or URNs should *not* be used for referencing offline
> information produced by unregistered authorities, then what should?

They should be so used, but not as you propose using them, I think.

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)

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as:
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list