IETF URNbis working group

has produced an updated version of RFC3187 which does accommodate both 
ISBN-10 and ISBN-13. The ISBN International Agency is well aware of this 


This Internet Draft is currently out of date, and it is not likely that 
the URNBis working group will approve of it.

The reason for this is that there is no agreement on how to treat URI 
query and fragment properties. As specified here:

the initial approach was that the query and fragment are not part of the 
identifier. The idea was that the identifier as a rule identifies the 
entire document, and the fragment just takes the user to a specified 
position within the document. This is in some respect aligned with how 
the HTTP protocol works; the entire file is retrieved, and the browser 
uses fragment to take the user into the wanted position within the 
file.  Fragment must then be understood in the HTTP sense of the word; 
it is also possible to identify logical parts / fragments, but how to do 
this must be specified separately in each URN namespace.

Likewise, the query could be used to retrieve the document, descriptive 
metadata about the document, technical metadata about the document, and 
so forth, but the identified resource would remain the same.

Alas, the working group could not reach an agreement about how to use 
fragment and query, and the latest version of the URN syntax

omits them, which I think is a problem since query and fragment have 
been part of the URI syntax since 2005, but still no persistent 
identifier system uses them. This may be an indication that mixing 
identification and location information is not a great idea.

The authors of rfc3187bis are unwilling to produce a dumb down version 
of the draft, so it does not look likely that the URNbis WG will be able 
to complete its charter unless a workable compromise is found. IMHO it 
would be a bad idea to say that e.g. a fragment is part of the 
identifier string, since then it would not be possible to use fragments 
in e.g. the ISBN namespace.

All the best,


On 21.5.2013 8:42, Stuart Yeates wrote:
>>> It's trivial for a computer to calculate that a 13-digit and 10-digit
>>> ISBN are the same.
>> Assuming Kevin et al. know of the situation, and program for it.
> There's actually a case for prodding the International ISBN Agency to update RFC 3187 so that that information is embedded in the URN representation. RFC 3187 predates 13 digit ISBNs. Some of the links and other information appear to be outdated too.
> cheers
> stuart


  Juha Hakala
  Senior advisor

  The National Library of Finland
  P.O.Box 15 (Unioninkatu 36, room 503)
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