RFC 1737 (rfc1737) - Page 2 of 7

Functional Requirements for Uniform Resource Names

Alternative Format: Original Text Document

RFC 1737        Requirements for Uniform Resource Names    December 1994

   become more and more important.  This activity of discovering and
   utilizing resources can be broken down into those activities where
   one of the primary constraints is human utility and facility and
   those in which human involvement is small or nonexistent.  Human
   naming must have such characteristics as being both mnemonic and
   short.  Humans, in contrast with computers, are good at heuristic
   disambiguation and wide variability in structure.  In order for
   computer and network based systems to support global naming and
   access to resources that have perhaps an indeterminate lifetime, the
   flexibility and attendant unreliability of human-friendly names
   should be translated into a naming infrastructure more appropriate
   for the underlying support system.  It is this underlying support
   system that the Internet Information Infrastructure Architecture
   (IIIA) is addressing.

   Within the IIIA, several sorts of information about resources are
   specified and divided among different sorts of structures, along
   functional lines.  In order to access information, one must be able
   to discover or identify the particular information desired,
   determined both how and where it might be used or accessed.  The
   partitioning of the functionality in this architecture is into
   uniform resource names (URN), uniform resource characteristics (URC),
   and uniform resource locators (URL).  A URN identifies a resource or
   unit of information.  It may identify, for example, intellectual
   content, a particular presentation of intellectual content, or
   whatever a name assignment authority determines is a distinctly
   namable entity.  A URL identifies the location or a container for an
   instance of a resource identified by a URN.  The resource identified
   by a URN may reside in one or more locations at any given time, may
   move, or may not be available at all.  Of course, not all resources
   will move during their lifetimes, and not all resources, although
   identifiable and identified by a URN will be instantiated at any
   given time.  As such a URL is identifying a place where a resource
   may reside, or a container, as distinct from the resource itself
   identified by the URN.  A URC is a set of meta-level information
   about a resource.  Some examples of such meta-information are: owner,
   encoding, access restrictions (perhaps for particular instances),

   With this in mind, we can make the following statement:

   o  The purpose or function of a URN is to provide a globally unique,
      persistent identifier used for recognition, for access to
      characteristics of the resource or for access to the resource

Sollins & Masinter