Overloaded URIs must GO!

Jerome McDonough jmcdonou at library.berkeley.edu
Fri May 28 18:37:40 BST 1999

At 11:09 AM 5/28/1999 -0400, David Megginson wrote:
>1. URNs don't really exist, or at least, last I checked, there was no
>   authoritative specification of the different URN schemes (without
>   which URNs are worthless).  URNs have been under development for
>   most of the 1990s with few tangible results, and I'm growing
>   slightly skeptical.

Can you clarify what you mean by "no authoritative specification of
the different URN schemes"?  I know that some of the IETF's URN Working
Group documents are still in draft, but even the drafts are almost done,
and there's certainly enough there to build a fully functioning URN
resolution system.  I know of at least a few large organizations that 
are starting to make serious use of URNs (including Library of Congress),
and we're working on integrating URN resolution systems at the library
here at Berkeley.

I'd agree that URNs aren't exactly widely used at this point and
the adoption curve has been slow, but adoption curves on technologies 
whose value increases based on the number of other people using it are
always slow, even if the technology has obvious merit.  How many people 
are using IP v6 yet, despite the fact that the IPv6 recommendation was first
adopted back in 1994?

There are times that I suspect that we all take this notion of "Internet
Time" way too seriously.  Things seem to be getting to the point where if 
something can't be specified, implemented and receive wide adoption (or 
at least wide-spread approval) in a year, people consider it a failure.
There are a lot of worthwhile projects that take longer than that.  I'm
beginning to get worried that a lot of beneficial work in the SGML/XML 
community will get abandoned just because it doesn't match some
artificial notion of how long it should take for a technology to be

OK, enough digressing for one day....

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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