Using Existing Bibliographic Identifiers as Uniform Resource Names
RFC 2288

Document Type RFC - Informational (February 1998; Errata)
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Network Working Group                                          C. Lynch
Request for Comments: 2288          Coalition for Networked Information
Category: Informational                                      C. Preston
                                                        Preston & Lynch
                                                              R. Daniel
                                         Los Alamos National Laboratory
                                                          February 1998

                Using Existing Bibliographic Identifiers
                                   as
                         Uniform Resource Names

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   A system for Uniform Resource Names (URNs) must be capable of
   supporting identifiers from existing widely-used naming systems.
   This document discusses how three major bibliographic identifiers
   (the ISBN, ISSN and SICI) can be supported within the URN framework
   and the currently proposed syntax for URNs.

1. Introduction

   The ongoing work of several IETF working groups, most recently in the
   Uniform Resource Names working group, has culminated the development
   of a syntax for Uniform Resource Names (URNs).   The functional
   requirements and overall framework for Uniform Resource Names are
   specified in RFC 1737 [Sollins & Masinter] and the specification for
   the URN syntax is RFC 2141 [Moats].

   As part of the validation process for the development of URNs the
   IETF working group has agreed that it is important to demonstrate
   that the current URN syntax proposal can accommodate existing
   identifiers from well established namespaces.  One such
   infrastructure for assigning and managing names comes from the
   bibliographic community.  Bibliographic identifiers function as names
   for objects that exist both in print and, increasingly, in electronic
   formats.  This memo demonstrates the feasibility of supporting three

Lynch, et. al.               Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2288                Bibligraphic Identifiers           February 1998

   representative bibliographic identifiers within the currently
   proposed URN framework and syntax.

   Note that this document does not purport to define the "official"
   standard way of moving these bibliographic identifiers into URNs; it
   merely demonstrates feasibility.  It has not been developed in
   consultation with these standards bodies and maintenance agencies
   that oversee the existing bibliographic identifiers.  Any actual
   Internet standard for encoding these bibliographic identifiers as
   URNs will need to be developed in consultation with the responsible
   standards bodies and maintenance agencies.

   In addition, there are several open questions with regard to the
   management and registry of Namespace Identifiers (NIDs) for URNs.
   For purposes of illustration, we have used the three NIDs "ISBN",
   "ISSN" and "SICI" for the three corresponding bibliographic
   identifiers discussed in this document.  While we believe this to be
   the most appropriate choice, it is not the only one.  The NIDs could
   be based on the standards body and standard number (e.g.  "US-ANSI-
   NISO-Z39.56-1997" rather than "SICI").  Alternatively, one could lump
   all bibliographic identifiers into a single "BIBLIOGRAPHIC" name
   space, and structure the namespace-specific string to specify which
   identifier is being used.  Any final resolution of this must wait for
   the outcome of namespace management discussions in the working group
   and the broader IETF community.

   For the purposes of this document, we have selected three major
   bibliographic identifiers (national and international) to fit within
   the URN framework.  These are the International Standard Book Number
   (ISBN) [ISO1], the International Standard Serials Number (ISSN)
   [NISO1,ISO2, ISO3], and the Serial Item and Contribution Identifier
   (SICI) [NISO2].  An ISBN is used to identify a monograph (book).  An
   ISSN is used to identify serial publications (journals, newspapers)
   as a whole.   A SICI augments the ISSN in order to identify
   individual issues of serial publications, or components within those
   issues (such as an individual article, or the table of contents of a
   given issue).  The ISBN and ISSN are defined in the United States by
   standards issued by the National Information Standards Organization
   (NISO) and also by parallel international standards issued under the
   auspices of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
   NISO is the ANSI-accredited standards body serving libraries,
   publishers and information services.  The SICI code is defined by a
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