Internet Draft                               Leslie L. Daigle
August 4,
October 8, 1998                              Bunyip Information Systems
draft-ietf-urn-nid-req-05.txt
draft-ietf-urn-nid-req-06.txt                Dirk-Willem van Gulik
                                             ISIS/CEO, JRC Ispra
                                             Renato Iannella
                                             DSTC Pty Ltd
                                             Patrik Faltstrom
                                             Tele2/Swipnet

      URN Namespace Definition Mechanisms

Status of this Document

     This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
     documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its
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0.0 Abstract

The URN WG has defined a syntax for Uniform Resource Names
(URNs) [RFC2141], as well as some proposed mechanisms for their
resolution and use in Internet applications ([RFC2168, RFC2169]).
The whole rests on the concept of individual 'namespaces' "namespaces" within the
URN structure.  Apart from  proof-of-concept namespaces, the use
of existing identifiers in URNs has been discussed ([RFC2288]),
and this document lays out general definitions of and
mechanisms for establishing URN 'namespaces'. "namespaces".

1.0 Introduction

Uniform Resource Names (URNs) are resource identifiers with the
specific requirements for enabling location independent
identification of a resource, as well as longevity of reference.
There are 2 assumptions that are key to this document:

Assumption #1:

   Assignment of a URN is a managed process.

   I.e., not all strings that conform to URN syntax are necessarily
   valid URNs.  A URN is assigned according to the rules of a
   particular namespace (in terms of syntax, semantics, and process).

Assumption #2:

   The space of URN namespaces is managed.

   I.e., not all syntactically correct URN namespaces (per the URN
   syntax definition)  are valid URN namespaces.  A URN namespace
   must have a recognized definition in order to be valid.

The purpose of this document is to outline a mechanism and provide a
template for explicit namespace definition, along with the mechanism
for associating an identifier (called a "Namespace ID", or NID) which
is registered with the Internet Assigned Number Authority, IANA.

Note that this document restricts itself to the description of
processes for the creation of URN namespaces.  If "resolution" of any
so-created URN identifiers is desired, a separate process of
registration in a global NID directory, such as that provided by the
NAPTR system [RFC2168], is necessary.  See [NAPTR-REG] for information
on obtaining registration in the NAPTR global NID directory.

2.0 What is a URN Namespace?

For the purposes of URNs, a "namespace" is a collection of
uniquely-assigned identifiers.  A URN namespace itself has an
identifier in order to

	. ensure global uniqueness of URNs
	. (where desired) provide a cue for the structure of the
	  identifier

For example, ISBNs and ISSNs are both collections of identifiers used
in the traditional publishing world; while there may some number (or
numbers) that is both a valid ISBN identifier and ISSN identifier,
using different designators for the two collections ensures that no
two URNs will be the same for different resources.

The development of an identifier structure, and thereby a collection
of identifiers, is a process that is inherently dependent on the needs
requirements of the identifiers, community defining the identifier, how they will
be assigned, and the uses to which they will be put.  All of these
issues are specific to the individual community seeking to define a
namespace (e.g., publishing community, association of booksellers,
protocol developers, etc); they are beyond the scope of the IETF
URN work.

This document outlines the processes by which a collection of
identifiers satisfying certain constraints (uniqueness of assignment,
etc) can become a bona fide URN namespace by obtaining a NID.  In a
nutshell, a template for the definition of the namespace is completed
for deposit with IANA, and a NID is assigned.  The details of the
process and possibilities for NID strings are outlined below; first, a
template for the definition is provided.

3.0 URN Namespace Definition Template

Definition of a URN namespace is accomplished by completing the
following information template.  Apart from providing a mechanism
for disclosing structure of the URN namespace, this information
is designed to be useful for

	. entities seeking to have a URN assigned in a namespace
	  (if applicable)
        . entities seeking to provide URN resolvers for a namespace
	  (if applicable)

This is particularly important for communities evaluating the
possibility of using a portion of an existing URN namespace rather
than creating their own.

Information in the template is as follows:

Namespace ID:

	Assigned by IANA.  In some contexts, a particular one
	may be requested (see below).

Registration Information:

	This is information to identify the particular version of
	registration information:

	. registration version number: starting with 1, incrementing by 1
		with each new version
	. registration date: date submitted to the IANA, using
		the format
			YYYY-MM-DD
		as outlined in [ISO8601].

Declared registrant of the namespace:

	Required: Name and e-mail address.
	Recommended:  Affiliation, address, etc.

Declaration of syntactic structure:

	This section should outline any structural features of
	identifiers in this namespace.  At the very least, this
	description may be used to introduce terminology used in
	other sections.  This structure may also be used for
	determining realistic caching/shortcuts approaches; suitable
	caveats should be provided.  If there are any specific
	character encoding rules (e.g., which character should
	always be used for single-quotes), these should be listed
	here.

	Answers might include, but are not limited to:

	. the structure is opaque (no exposition)
	. a regular expression for parsing the identifier into
	  components, including naming authorities

Relevant ancillary documentation:

	This section should list any RFCs, standards, or other published
	documentation that defines or explains all or part of the
	namespace structure.

	Answers might include, but are not limited to:

	. RFCs outlining syntax of the namespace
	. Other of the defining community's (e.g., ISO) documents
	  outlining syntax of the identifiers in the namespace
	. Explanatory material introducing the namespace

Identifier uniqueness considerations:

	This section should address the requirement that
	URN identifiers be assigned uniquely -- they are assigned
	to at most one resource, and are not reassigned.

	(Note that the definition of "resource" is fairly
	broad; for example, information on "Today's Weather" might
	be considered a single resource, although the content is
	dynamic.)

	Possible answers include, but are not limited to:

	. exposition of the structure of the identifiers, and
	  partitioning of the space of identifiers amongst
	  assignment authorities which are individually responsible
	  for respecting uniqueness rules
	. identifiers are assigned sequentially
	. information is withheld; the namespace is opaque

Identifier persistence considerations:

	Although non-reassignment of URN identifiers ensures
	that a URN will persist in identifying a particular
	resource even after the "lifetime of the resource",
	some consideration should be given to the persistence
	of the usability of the URN.  This is particularly
	important in the case of URN namespaces providing
	global resolution.

	Possible answers include, but are not limited to:

	. quality of service considerations

Process of identifier assignment:

	This section should detail the mechanisms and/or authorities
	for assigning URNs to resources.  It should make clear whether
	assignment is completely open, or if limited, how
	to become an assigner of identifiers, and/or get one
	assigned by existing assignment authorities.  Answers
	could include, but are not limited to:

	. assignment is completely open, following a particular
	  algorithm
	. assignment is delegated to authorities recognized by
	  a particular organization (e.g., the Digital Object
	  Identifier Foundation controls the DOI assignment space and
	  its delegation)
	. assignment is completely closed (e.g., for a private
	  organization)

Process for identifier resolution:

	If a namespace is intended to be accessible for global
	resolution, it must be registerd in an RDS (Resolution
	Discovery System, see [RFC2276]) such as NAPTR.  Resolution
	then proceeds according to standard URI resolution processes,
	and the mechanisms of the RDS.  What this section should
	outline is the requirements for becoming a recognized resolver
	of URNs in this namespace (and being so-listed in the RDS
	registry).

	Answers may include, but are not limited to:

	. the namespace is not listed with an RDS; this is not
	  relevant
	. resolution mirroring is completely open, with a mechanism
	  for updating an appropriate RDS
	. resolution is controlled by entities to which assignment
	  has been delegated

Rules for Lexical Equivalence:

	If there are particular algorithms for determining
	equivalence between two URN strings identifiers in this namespace, the underlying
	namespace (hence, in the URN string itself), rules can
	be provided here.

	Some examples include:

	. mappings between different character set encodings
	. equivalence between hyphenated and non-hyphenated
	  groupings in the identifier string
	. equivalence between single-quotes and double-quotes
	. Namespace-defined equivalences between specific
	  characters, such as "character X with or without
	  diacritic marks".

	Note that these are not normative statements for any kind of
	best practice for handling equivalences between characters;
	they are statements limited to reflecting the namespace's
	own rules.

Conformance with URN Syntax:

	This section should outline any special considerations
	required for conforming with the URN syntax.  This is
	particularly applicable in the case of legacy naming
	systems that are used in the context of URNs.

	For example, if a namespace is used in contexts other
	than URNs, it may have a more generous character set than is
	immediately available with URNs. make use of characters that are reserved
	in the URN syntax.  This section should flag this
	issue any such
	characters, and outline necessary mappings to conform to
	URN syntax.  (E.g.,  Normally, this will be handled by hex encoding
	the symbol.

	For example, see the section on SICIs in [RFC2288]). [RFC2288].

Validation mechanism:

	Apart from attempting resolution of a URN, a URN namespace
	may provide mechanism for "validating" a URN -- i.e.,
	determining whether a given string is currently a
	validly-assigned URN.  For example, even if an ISBN
	URN namespace is created, it is not clear that
	all ISBNs will translate directly into "assigned URNs".

	A validation mechanims might be:

	. a syntax grammar
	. an on-line service
	. an off-line service

Scope:

	This section should outline the scope of the use of the
	identifiers in this namespace.  Apart from considerations
	of private vs. public namespaces, this section is critical
	in evaluating the applicability of a requested NID.  For
	example, a namespace claiming to deal in "social security
	numbers" should have a global scope and address all
	social security number structures (unlikely).  On the
	other hand, at a national level, it is reasonable to
	posit a URN namespace for "this nation's social security
	numbers".

4.0 URN Namespace Registration Registration, Update,  and NID Assignment Process

Different levels of disclosure are expected/defined for namespaces.
According to the level of open-forum  discussion surrounding
the disclosure, a URN namespace may be assigned or may request a
particular identifier.  The [IANA-CONSIDERATIONS] document suggests
the need to specify update mechanisms for registrations -- who
is given the authority to do so, from time to time, and what are
the processes.  Since URNs are meant to be persistently useful, few
(if any) changes should be made to the structural interpretation of
URN strings (e.g., adding or removing rules for lexical equivalence that
might affect the interpretation of URN IDs already assigned).  However, it
may be important to introduce clarifications, expand the list of
authorized URN assigners, etc, over the natural course of a namespace's
lifetime.  Specific processes are outlined below.

There are 3 categories of URN namespaces defined here, distinguished
by expected level of service and required procedures for registration.
Furthermore, registration maintenance procedures vary slightly from
one category to another.

	  I. Experimental: These are not explicitly registered with IANA. They
	        take the form

		x-<NID>

		No provision is made for avoiding collision of experimental
	 	NIDs; they are intended for use within internal or limited
		experimental contexts.

		As there is no registration, no registration maintenance
		procedures are needed.

	 II. Informal:  These are registered with IANA and are assigned a
		number sequence as an identifier, in the format:

			"iana-" <number>

		where <number> is chosen by the IANA on a First Come First
	 	Served basis (see [IANA-CONSIDERATIONS]).

		Registrants should send a copy of the registration
	  	template (see section 3.0), duly completed, to the

			urn-nid@apps.ietf.org

		mailing and allow for a 2 week discussion period for
		clarifying the expression of the registration information
		and suggestions for improvements to the namespace proposal.

		After suggestions for clarification of the registration
		information have been incorporated, the template may be
		submitted to:

			iana@iana.org

		for assignment of a NID.

	 	The only restrictions on <number> are that it consist
		strictly of digits and that it not cause the NID to exceed
		length limitations outlined in the URN syntax ([RFC2168]).

		Registrations may be updated by the original registrant,
		or an entity designated by the registrant, by updating
		the registration template, submitting it to the discussion
		list for a further 2 week discussion period, and finally
		resubmitting it to IANA, as described above.

        III. Formal:  These are processed through an RFC review
                process.  The RFC need not be standards-track.  The
                template defined in section 3.0 may be included as part
                of an RFC defining some other aspect of the RFC, namespace,
                or a separate message
		referencing the RFC. it may be put forward as an RFC in its own right.
                The proposed template should be sent to the

                        urn-nid@apps.ietf.org

                mailing list to allow for a 2 week discussion period.

		The period  for
                clarifying the expression of the registration template should then be sent information,
		before the IESG progresses the document to

			iana@iana.org RFC status.

		A particular NID string is requested, and is assigned by IETF
		consensus (as defined in [IANA-CONSIDERATIONS]), with
		the additional constraints that the NID string must
		not start with "x-" (see Type I above) or "iana-" (see Type II
		above), and is not already a registered NID.

		The NID, and is more
		than 2 letters long.

		ALL two-letter country codes combinations are reserved for availability use
		as country code NIDs for eventual national registrations. registrations of
	 	URN namespaces.

		Registrations may be updated by updating the RFC through
		standard IETF RFC update mechanisms.  Thus, proposals for
		updates may be made by the original authors, other IETF
		participants, or the IESG.  In any case, the proposed
		updated template must be circulated on the urn-nid
		discussion list, allowing for a 2 week review period.

URN namespace registrations will be posted in the anonymous FTP directory
"ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/iana/assignments/URN-namespaces/".

5.0 Example

The following example is provided for the purposes of illustration of
the URN NID template described in section 3.0.  Although it is based on
a posited "generic Internet namespace" that has been discussed informally
within the URN WG, there are still technical and infrastructural issues
that would have to be resolved before such a namespace could be properly
and completely described.

Namespace ID:

	To be assigned

Registration Information:

	Version 1
	Date: <when submitted>

Declared registrant of the namespace:

        Required: Name and e-mail address.
        Recommended:  Affiliation, address, etc.

Declared registrant of the namespace:

	Name:		T. Cat
	E-mail:		leslie@thinkingcat.com
	Affiliation:	Thinking Cat Enterprises
	Address:	1 ThinkingCat Way
			Trupville, NewCountry

Declaration of structure:

	The identifier structure is as follows:

	URN:<assigned number>:<FQDN>:<assigned US-ASCII string>

	where FQDN is a fully-qualified domain name, and the
	assigned string is conformant to URN syntax requirements.

Relevant ancillary documentation:

	Definition of domain names, found in:

	P. Mockapetris, "DOMAIN NAMES - IMPLEMENTATION AND SPECIFICATION",
	RFC1035, November 1987.

Identifier uniqueness considerations:

	Uniqueness is guaranteed as long as the assigned
	string is never reassigned for a given FQDN, and that the FQDN
	is never reassigned.

	N.B.:  operationally, there is nothing that prevents a domain
	name from being reassigned;  indeed, it is not an uncommon
	occurrence.  This is one of the reasons that this example
	makes a poor URN namespace in practice, and is therefore not
	seriously being proposed as it stands.

Identifier persistence considerations:

	Persistence of identifiers is dependent upon suitable
	delegation of resolution at the level of "FQDN"s, and persistence
	of FQDN assignment.

	Same note as above.

Process of identifier assignment:

	Assignment of these URNs delegated to individual domain
	name holders (for FQDNs).  The holder of the FQDN registration
	is required to maintain an entry (or delegate it) in the
	NAPTR RDS.  Within each of these delegated name partitions,
	the string may be assigned per local requirements.

	e.g.  urn:<assigned number>:thinkingcat.com:001203

Process for identifier resolution:

	Domain name holders are responsible for operating or
	delegating resolution servers for the FQDN in which they
	have assigned URNs.

Rules for Lexical Equivalence:

	FQDNs are case-insensitive.  Thus, the portion of the URN

		urn:<assigned number>:<FQDN>:

	is case-insenstive for matches.  The remainder of the identifier
	must be considered case-sensitve.

Conformance with URN Syntax:

	No special considerations.

Validation mechanism:

	None specified.

Scope:

	Global.

6.0 Security Considerations

This document largely focuses on providing mechanisms for the
declaration of public information.  Nominally, these declarations
should be of relatively low security profile, however there is
always the danger of "spoofing" and providing mis-information.
Information in these declarations should be taken as advisory.

7.0 References

[IANA-CONSIDERATIONS] H. Alvestrand and T. Narten, "Guidelines for
    Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs",
    draft-iesg-iana-considerations-04.txt.

[RFC2168] Ron Daniel & Michael Mealling, "Resolution of Uniform
    Resource Identifiers using the Domain Name System", RFC 2168,
    June 1997.

[RFC2169] Ron Daniel, "A Trivial Convention for using HTTP in URN
    Resolution", RFC 2169, June 1997.

[ISO8601] ISO 8601 : 1988 (E), "Data elements and interchange formats -
    Information interchange - Representation of dates and times"

[RFC2288] C. Lynch, C. Preston & R. Daniel, "Using Existing
    Bibliographic Identifiers as Uniform Resource Names", RFC 2288,
    February 1998.

[NAPTR-REG] M. Mealling, "Assignment Procedures for the URI Resolution
    using DNS (RFC2168)", draft-ietf-urn-net-procedures-00.txt.

[RFC2141] Ryan Moats, "URN Syntax", RFC 2141, May 1997.

[IANA-CONSIDERATIONS] T. Narten and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for
    Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs",
    draft-iesg-iana-considerations-06.txt.

[RFC1737] Karen R Sollins & Larry Masinter, "Functional Requirements
    for Uniform Resource Names", RFC1737, December 1994

[RFC2276] K. Sollins, "Architectural Principles of Uniform Resource
    Name Resolution", RFC 2276, January 1998.

8.0 Authors' Addresses

Leslie L. Daigle
Bunyip Information Systems Inc
310 Ste. Catherine St. W
Suite 300
Montreal, Quebec, CANADA
H2X 2A1
voice: +1 514 875-8611
fax:   +1 514 875-8134
email:  leslie@bunyip.com

Dirk-Willem van Gulik
ISIS/STA/CEO - TP 270
Joint Research Centre Ispra
21020 Ispra (Va)
Italy.
voice: +39 332 78 9549 or 5044
fax:   +39 332 78 9185
email:  Dirk.vanGulik@jrc.it

Renato Iannella
DSTC Pty Ltd
Gehrmann Labs, The Uni of Queensland
AUSTRALIA, 4072
voice:  +61 7 3365 4310
fax:    +61 7 3365 4311
email:  renato@dstc.edu.au

Patrik Faltstrom
Tele2/Swipnet
Borgarfjordsgatan 16
P.O. Box 62
S-164 94 Kista
SWEDEN
voice:  +46-5626 4000
fax:    +46-5626 4200
email:  paf@swip.net