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Subject: RE: [oasis-member-discuss] OASIS namespace documents for URN namespaces

Of course it all depends on what you want to use the identifier for. I would argue, always have argued, that you shouldn't find anything at the end of a URI that purports to be an identifier except, well, something that helps identify the artefact being referenced. An RDDL document is not an identifier - it is a resource descriptor; it is intended to provide information about the identified artifact but, I would argue, is not the only thing that could be relevant at such an end point. As such there *should* be a distinction between the namespace urn and any mechanism to dereference it in a particular context for a particular purpose - whether OASIS provides it os not, is another question.

The Topic Map community understands this intimately in their distinction between a "subject identifier" and a "subject indicator" and didn't get lost down the W3C blind alley of confusing labels and resources à la RDF... sorry, shouldn't have dragged that up ;-)


From: Christopher B Ferris [mailto:chrisfer@us.ibm.com] 
Sent: 18 June 2007 16:03
To: Peter F Brown
Cc: oasis-member-discuss@lists.oasis-open.org; robin.cover@oasis-open.org
Subject: RE: [oasis-member-discuss] OASIS namespace documents for URN namespaces

The OASIS TAB has published guidelines for namespace URIs (amongst other subjects related to 
metadata) here: 

These guidelines include recommendation that namespace URIs be HTTP scheme URIs and that there 
be a published RDDL document at the namespace URI location. URNs are permitted for use, but HTTP 
scheme URIs are preferred/recommended since they can be resolved without additional machinery. Note 
that OASIS hs no plans to implement such a resolution mechanism: 

An example of these guidelines in action can be found with the WS-RX TC's WS-RM namespace URI: 

Frankly, I don't personally see any material benefit to use of a URN scheme namespace. I suspect that 
some believe that by using a URN, they have created a 'permanent identifier'. Well, frankly, there is no 
reason why an HTTP scheme URI cannot be 'permanent'. It isn't as if OASIS is going to drop off the face of 
the earth anytime soon. 


Christopher Ferris
STSM, Software Group Standards Strategy
email: chrisfer@us.ibm.com
blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/chrisferris
phone: +1 508 234 2986 

"Peter F Brown" <peter@pensive.eu> wrote on 06/18/2007 09:43:24 AM:

> Paul:
> I think the objective is laudable but I don't see the point of the
> "http://www.oasis-open.org/namespace?ns="; part of the statement. Surely,
> if some application wants to do something with the "pure" (and on its
> own non-deferenceable) urn, then surely it will ba equipped to make that
> call using http get or whatever.
> By effectively tying a namespace to a derefereceable network endpoint
> and to specific and prescribed dereferencing mechanism, is there not a
> danger that you:
> - either limit what can be legitimately found at the network endpoint to
> an RDDL file only, cutting out other possible uses of the namespace;
> - or creating false expectations and possible architectural problems
> when unpredictable results come from finding something other than a RDDL
> document at the end of the pipe.
> On the other hand, I'd be in favour of a mechanism by which RDDL
> documents, when available, can be accessed using a prescribed OASIS
> managed URL to which you would tack the namespace urn.
> Regards,
> Peter
> -------------
> Peter F Brown
> Chair, CEN eGovernment Focus Group
> Founder, Pensive.eu
> Co-Editor, OASIS SOA Reference Model
> Lecturer at XML Summer School
> ---
> Personal:
> +43 676 610 0250
> http://public.xdi.org/=Peter.Brown
> www.XMLbyStealth.net
> www.xmlsummerschool.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Paul Denning [mailto:pauld@mitre.org] 
> Sent: 30 May 2007 18:45
> To: oasis-member-discuss@lists.oasis-open.org
> Subject: [oasis-member-discuss] OASIS namespace documents for URN
> namespaces
> Some OASIS TC's use an HTTP URI when they define an XML 
> Namespace.  Some TC's have started using RDDL as a namespace document 
> when these namespace URI's are dereferenced using HTTP GET.
> Other OASIS TC's use URN's to identify their XML Namespace.
> I suggest that OASIS provide a mechanism to resolve a namespace 
> document (RDDL or other) using HTTP and passing in the namespace URN 
> in a query parameter.
> For example,
> http://www.oasis-open.org/namespace?ns=urn:oasis:names:tc:emergency:EDXL
> :DE:1.0
> would return a RDDL document associated with the EDXL-DE namespace.
> Paul

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