Paul has volunteered (was Re: Overloaded URIs must GO!)

David Megginson david at
Mon May 31 17:30:28 BST 1999

Hunter, David writes:

 > I agree.  But from reading the previous postings, the point seems
 > to be "we need to use a protocol, and HTTP is the only one we've
 > got at the moment, so we should use it for our URIs".

Actually, that's not it.  The point is that ordinary people (not just
domain-name owners, or book publishers, etc.) need to be able to
construct Namespace URIs, and those URIs have to be guaranteed unique,
at least at the moment that they construct them.

A very convenient (if inadequately persistent) way to accomplish that
is to build Namespace URIs based on the URLs for Internet space to
which people already have access rights.  Access rights are based on
protocol as well as domain and branch, so there has to be some link to
the protocol somewhere.

URLs don't have to use the HTTP protocol; I suppose that you could
even build a namespace on a mailto:, though I'm not sure what it would 
look like.

Some day (perhaps very soon) URNs will also become usable as Namespace
URIs, but they're not there yet, unless you expect ordinary people to
start registering NIDs with IANA.  URNs are still missing that last
tiny step for usability.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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