[rfc-i] DOIs and RFCs

Henning Schulzrinne hgs at cs.columbia.edu
Tue Feb 11 21:06:03 PST 2014

I’m currently working in an environment mostly consisting of lawyers, but who need to cite RFCs (among many other document types, from scientific papers to court proceedings). RFC URLs are all over the map - presumably whatever somebody goggled. You get www.rfc-editor.org (rarely), tools.ietf.org, and probably three or four more variations. Having a simple, short convention that can still be resolved ten years from now would be quite useful to provide in our style guide, and conforms with other technical citations. (For a related reason, I’m trying to get internal documents a DOI or similar convention.)

Nobody is forced to use the convention, so I’m a bit surprised by the opposition. Maybe it helps to recognize that there are different communities, with different preferences, citation cultures and conventions.


On Feb 11, 2014, at 6:57 PM, John Levine <johnl at taugh.com> wrote:

>> I don't see the benefit in creating another level of indirection for 
>> RFCs.
> There really are journals and such that want DOIs on their references,
> and there really are indexes that hide their copies of RFCs behind a
> paywall.  See for example, this entry in the ACM Digital Library, with
> a link that will offer to sell you a copy of RFC 1034 for $15:
> http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=RFC1034&coll=DL&dl=GUIDE&CFID=291229312&CFTOKEN=88882203
> Just because you and I know how to work around that doesn't mean
> everyone else does.  If there were a DOI, that would be a direct link
> to the DOI database which would redirect to a web page under our
> control, for free.
> Also, DOIs have some practical advantages for people writing papers in
> that software can easily extract the bibliographic information for any
> DOI, and software like bibtex can expand it into nice looking
> references.
> R's,
> John
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