Using International Standard Book Numbers as Uniform Resource Names (RFC3187)
Original Publication Date: 2001-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Nov-13
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
J. Hakala: AUTHOR [+2]
This document discusses how International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) can be supported within the URN (Uniform Resource Names) framework and the syntax for URNs defined in RFC 2141. Much of the discussion below is based on the ideas expressed in RFC 2288.
Network Working Group J. Hakala
Request for Comments: 3187 Helsinki University Library
Category: Informational H. Walravens
The International ISBN Agency
Using International Standard Book Numbers 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 (C) The Internet Society (2001). All Rights Reserved.
This document discusses how International Standard Book Numbers
(ISBN) can be supported within the URN (Uniform Resource Names)
framework and the syntax for URNs defined in RFC 2141. Much of the
discussion below is based on the ideas expressed in RFC 2288.
As part of the validation process for the development of URNs, the
IETF URN working group 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. RFC 2288 [Lynch, et al.] investigated the feasibility of
using three identifiers (ISBN, ISSN and SICI) as URNs. This document
will analyse the usage of ISBNs as URNs in more detail than RFC 2288.
A registration request for acquiring Namespace Identifier (NID)
"ISBN" for ISBNs is included in chapter 5.
Hakala & Walravens Informational [Page 1]
RFC 3187 Using ISBNs as URNs October 2001
The document at hand is part of a global joint venture of the
national libraries to foster identification of electronic documents
in general and utilisation of URNs in particular. The document was
written as a co-operative project between the Helsinki University
Library and The International ISBN Agency.
We have used the URN Namespace Identifier "ISBN" for ISBNs in
2. Identification vs. Resolution
As a rule the ISBNs identify finite, manageably-sized objects, but
these objects may still be large enough that resolution into a
hierarchical system is appropriate.
The materials identified by an ISBN may exist only in printed or
other physical form, not electronically. The best that a resolver
will be able to offer in this case is bibliographic data from a
national bibliography database, including information about where the
physical resource is stored in the national library's holdings.
3. International Standard Book Numbers
RFC 2288 [Lynch] describes the ISBN system in the following way:
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) identifies an edition
of a monographic work. The ISBN is defined by the standard
NISO/ANSI/ISO 2108:1992 [ISO1]
Basically, an ISBN is a ten-digit number (actually, the last digit
can be the letter "X" as well, as described below) which is
divided into four variable length parts usually separated by