Resource Transponders (RFC1728)
Original Publication Date: 1994-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
This paper describes an automatic mechanism, the resource transponder, for maintaining resource location information. This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.
Network Working Group C. Weider Request for Comments: 1728 Bunyip Information Systems Category: Informational December 1994
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
Although a number of systems have been created in the last several years to provide resource location and navigation on the Internet, the information contained in these systems must be maintained and updated by hand. This paper describes an automatic mechanism, the resource transponder, for maintaining resource location information.
This document is being circulated as sort of a research paper; consequently there are no protocol specifications or anything of the sort. I hope that we can go from here and actually design them if there’s consensus that they are potentially useful. Once we have some idea of the required functionality, we can then go out and standardize them.
This paper represents only the opinions of the author; it does not represent the consensus of the IIIR Working Group, although it is recognized by them as one legitimate approach to a solution of the problem.
In the past few years, we’ve seen the invention and growth of a number of information location systems on the Internet, e.g., archie, Gopher, and WAIS. However, as these systems have become widely deployed, a number of maintenance and security problems have arisen with them. Some of the major ones:
1) Out of necessity, most of these systems contain pointers to the desired resources rather than the resources themselves. Therefore, if a resource becomes obsolete, is modified, or is moved, the
Weider [Page 1]
RFC 1728 Resource Transponders December 1994
location system must be updated by hand. Some systems (archie in particular) proactively create updated indexes by contacting every resource on a certain time schedule (every 30 days or so) but this means that the system can be up to 30 days out of date, and this process can be highly inefficient depending on the percentage of information that has changed.
2) Conversely, anyone who maintains a resource that they wish indexed must keep track of every directory which contains a pointer to that resource, so that if it is modified, all the directories can be updated. This obviously is an optimistic scenario.
3) Many organizations which have installed these systems do not have the the available resources or expertise to maintain the information in the systems. Thus we have long periods where the information drifts, then a short period when the information is updated again.
4) Even though these systems are almost always out of date today, this problem will become increasingly harder for humans to manage by hand as everyone on the net becomes their own publisher. Also, as the net speeds up and people rely more and more on accurate information, human-induced dela...