This info is to help you keep all your internet resources straight,
and with the right moniker attached to them.
-- Lloyd Rasmussen
----- Forwarded message begins here -----
From: Linda White <email@example.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 1995 08:25:31 -0400
Subject: On URIs, URCs, URN, et. al. (was: FYI: IETF URI WG changes) (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 1995 18:40:00 -0700
From: IFLA <ifla@ITS.NLC-BNC.CA>
To: Multiple recipients of list DIGLIB <DIGLIB@INFOSERV.NLC-BNC.CA>
Subject: On URIs, URCs, URN, et. al. (was: FYI: IETF URI WG changes)
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 1995 11:19:08 -0400
Subject: Re: FYI: IETF URI WG changes
Eduardo Villanueva Mansilla asks:
> Could anyone explain the difference between an URL, an URC and an URN? I
> haven't been able to find it.
A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a location pointer... think of it
as the spine label... it tells you (the client software, actually)
where to get the object.
URLs are pretty much in place and stable (they're baked), though the
standard will undergo adjustments for various protocols from time to
URNs (Uniform Resource Names) are not an agreed upon technology at this
point in time (they're half baked), the community is approaching
something resembling consensus, and I believe the next 3 to 6 months
will witness serious pilot projects for the assignment, maintenance,
and resolution of URNs.
The goal of URNs is to provide a globally unique, location-independent,
persistant name for a resource that will be less prone to the failures
now encountered with URLs as resources are reorganized or moved. The
current correlate in the paper world might be an ISBN or LCCN. There
will probably be more than one URN schemes, at least at first.
URCs (Uniform Resource Characteristic) refer to any descriptive data
one might store about resources. No one even agrees what the
ingredients should be, though from the library perspective, URCs can be
thought of as cataloging records. In fact, this notion will need to be
expanded to include description that is normally not found in
cataloging records today (terms and conditions of use is one possible
It is my belief that only the library community, by virtue of its
long experience with MARC, is really in a position to make this piece
of the puzzle fall into place, though Libraries will have to
accomodate the changing needs and requirements of resource
description in a distributed network environment such as the
Internet. The Internet Resources Cataloging Project is the formost
example of a step in this direction.
Collectively, URLs, URNs, and URCs are referred to as Uniform Resource
See my home page for related work in the area of IETF standards and
resource description (metadata).
Senior Research Scientist
OCLC Office of Research
(614) 764-6081 (v)
(614) 764-2344 (f)
------ Forwarded message ends here ------
Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress 202-707-0535
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