[rfc-i] URIs in references, was: Call for Review of draft-iab-styleguide-01.txt, "RFC Style Guide"

Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) rse at rfc-editor.org
Wed Mar 26 17:04:13 PDT 2014

On 3/26/14, 4:44 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
> On 27/03/2014 12:26, John Levine wrote:
>>>>> 2) Maybe it should also be stated that "tinyurl" and its equivalents
>>>>> are not allowed, i.e. URIs must point directly to the target. However,
>>>>> I suppose DOIs are allowed.
>>>>> ...
>>>> What about PURLs?
>>> I have no opinion about that; I had to Google PURL...
>>> But it does look as if this area needs more comprehensive language than
>>> the current draft has. As far as I can see, devices such as DOIs, PURLs
>>> and tinyurls do nothing to ensure that the target content is stable,
>>> which is what really matters for a reference.
>> Dunno about PURLs, but for DOIs you're mistaken.  Each DOI has a
>> corresponding URL at http://dx.doi.org/<doi> and the whole reason you
>> pay for DOIs is to support the infrastructure that makes those URLs
>> work reliably.
>> They've been stable for a decade, which in web years is approximately
>> forever.
> I didn't mean that the URL will rot. I meant that a stable URL is
> no guarantee that the content itself is stable. That would need
> a cryptographic signature across the content, I think.

In an ideal world, the preference for the RFC Editor is stable content.
 We're fighting the ongoing battle for people to be able to see the
information that informed the RFC, not a future revision that modifies
or changes the specific information that caused that web-hosted content
to be a reference in the first place.

It is easier to find stable URIs than it is to find stable content.

I recognize this is a battle that can never be won, but I have no
intention of giving up on trying to encourage the best, most stable
references possible.   I could say something like "the best, most stable
references possible" and leave it at that, but that's not sufficient
guidance to help the editors, and the editors are an important audience
for the Style Guide.


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