[OAI-implementers] 'info' URI Internet-Draft

herbert van de sompel herbertv@lanl.gov
Mon, 29 Sep 2003 10:04:42 -0600

Apologies for cross-posting

Announcing a new Internet-Draft for an Informational RFC, to allow commonly used
identifiers to be part of the Web:

  The "info" URI Scheme for Information Assets with Identifiers in Public

      Herbert Van de Sompel - Los Alamos National Laboratory
      Tony Hammond  Elsevier
      Eamonn Neylon - Manifest Solutions
      Stuart L. Weibel  OCLC Online Computer Library Center

The draft is available at:


a. Purpose of the "info" URI scheme:

There exist many information assets with identifiers in public namespaces that
are not referenceable by URI schemes. Examples of such namespaces include Dewey
Decimal Classifications [1], Library of Congress Control Numbers (LCCN) [2],
NASA Astrophysics Data System Bibcodes [3], and Open Archives Initiative (OAI)
identifiers [4], among others.  The "info" URI scheme will facilitate the
referencing of information assets that have identifiers in such public
namespaces by means of URIs. The "info" scheme is based on a Registry that
invites the registration of public namespaces used for the identification of
information assets, by the parties that maintain the namespaces.

For example, assuming that the namespace of Dewey Decimal Classifications (ddc:)
and the namespace of Library of Congress Control Numbers (lccn:) would be
registered by their respective authorities, then:

* the Dewey Decimal Classification 22/eng//004.678 (for the term "Internet")
could be expressed as the "info" URI <info:ddc/22/eng//004.678>

* the Library of Congress Control Number 2002022641 could be expressed as the
"info" URI <info:lccn/2002022641>

b. Background of this effort

The effort to create the "info" URI scheme emerged from the NISO process to
standardize the OpenURL Framework for context-sensitive services [5], which
requires the ability to describe resources by means of globally recognizable
identifiers.  The Draft Standard for Trial Use released for Public Comment
introduced a "proprietary" naming architecture which allowed information assets
to be referenced by means of widely used non-URI identifiers (e.g. PubMed
identifiers, Digital Object Identifiers, Astrophysics Datasystem Bibcodes, and
others) which would be registered under the OpenURL Framework.

Public feedback led to the decision to fundamentally revise the naming
architecture, and to base all resource identification requirements within the
OpenURL Framework on URIs alone.  Because it was deemed unreaslistic to expect
that all namespaces required in the OpenURL Framework would be registered within
the URI allocation by the respective namespace authorities, the "info" URI
effort was launched.  This work is being conducted under the auspices of NISO,
and with active involvement and consultation from the IETF and the W3C.  It is
hoped that the lightweight, and community-based, registration mechanism that
will underlie the "info" URI scheme will rapidly lead to the availability of
"info" URIs to identify a wide variety of information assets.  More detailed
information of the effort is available at [6].

c. References

[1] "Dewey Decimal Classification". Retrieved September 20,  2003 from

[2] "Library of Congress Control Number". Retrieved August 1, 2003 from

[3] "NASA Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Code". Retrieved August 1, 2003
from <http://adsdoc.harvard.edu/abs_doc/help_pages/data.html>

[4] Lagoze, C., H. Van de Sompel, M. Nelson and S. Warner. "Specification and
XML Schema for the OAI Identifier Format", June 2002. Retrieved September 4,
2003 from <http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/2.0/guidelines-oai-identifier.htm>.

[5] Draft Standard for Trial Use ANSI/NISO Z39.88, "The OpenURL Framework for
Context-Sensitive Services".  Retrieved September 20, 2003 from


Herbert Van de Sompel
digital library research & prototyping
Los Alamos National Laboratory - Research Library
+ 1 (505) 667 1267 / http://lib-www.lanl.gov/~herbertv/

"your argument is absolutely logical.  but people will be confused"
anonymous participant in OpenURL Standardization Committee