OASIS members have formed a new technical committee to establish a common identification scheme for distributed directory services. The Extensible Resource Identifier (XRI) Technical Committee purposes to create a URI scheme and a corresponding URN namespace for distributed directory services that enable the identification of resources (including people and organizations) and the sharing of data across domains, enterprises, and applications. XNS Public Trust Organization (XNSORG) will contribute the Extensible Name Service (XNS) specifications to the TC to serve as a basis for the OASIS committee work. The committee "will define a Uniform Resource Identifer (URI) scheme and a corresponding Uniform Resource (URN) namespace that meet these requirements, as well as basic mechanisms for resolving XRIs and exchanging data and metadata associated with XRI-identified resources." The TC Co-Chairs are Drummond Reed (OneName) and Gabe Wachob (Visa International).
Related work OASIS Published Subjects Technical Committee. See the paper of Mary Nishikawa, "Organizing Information in a Corporate Intranet: A Use Case for Published and Internal-Use Subjects in Topic Maps," presented at the Extreme 2002 Conference.
From the announcement:
"URIs are one of the three pillars of Web architecture, but most URI schemes were developed before the era of XML and Web services," said Bill Washburn, President and Managing Director of the XNS Public Trust Organization (XNSORG), which intends to contribute the Extensible Name Service (XNS) specifications to seed the work of the OASIS committee. "With its other initiatives related to XML, security, and directory services, we felt OASIS was the right forum to develop a URI syntax that meets the demands of identifying and sharing resources and data persistently across different organizations and applications."
Drummond Reed of OneName, co-chair of the OASIS XRI Technical Committee added, "XRI syntax will be fully federated, the way DNS and IP addressing are today, yet will still address the problem of how to identify the same logical resource stored in different physical locations -- for example, the same file stored on different file servers, or the same invoice stored in different accounting systems." The syntax will allow for identifiers optimized for both human and machine readability, and will provide for internationalization in the same manner as XML.
Participation in the OASIS XRI Technical Committee remains open to all organizations and individuals. OASIS will host an open mail list for public comment, and completed work will be freely available to the public without licensing or other fees.
From the TC Proposal:
Increasingly, there is a demand for distributed directory services that enable the identification of resources (including people and organizations) and the sharing of data across domains, enterprises, and applications. There are currently no transport- and application-neutral identification schemes to support this infrastructure.
The purpose of this committee is to define a URI scheme and a corresponding URN namespace that meet these requirements. This TC will also define basic mechanisms for resolving the identifiers in these schemes and for exchanging data associated with these identifiers. This work will enable the creation of Web-like collections of resources (including, but not limited to, data, systems, services, organizations, and people) that extend the WWW's current generalized addressing and linking capabilities.
The URI scheme will conform to RFC 2396. It will also accommodate human-readable names as a subset of the compliant identifiers. The TC will also produce an interoperable URN namespace specification compliant with RFC 2141 and guided by the requirements in RFC 1737 for resources that need the ability to be persistently identified and linked.
The TC will also define an XML schema to associate metadata with resources and a service to manipulate this metadata and data associated with the resources. Specifically, this service will reflect the simple transactional nature of the WWW, i.e., it will use a small set of REST (Representational State Transfer) or CRUD-like operators on an infinitely extensible set of XRI-addressable resources. This data exchange service will provide a platform for integration with directory-related specifications such as LDAP, DSML, and SPML.
This TC's work will be influenced by the general architecture described in XNS and specifically by the XNS Addressing Specification. The XNS specifications published by the XNS Public Trust Organization (XNSORG) will be contributed to the TC for consideration in the committee's work. XNS is licensed under RF terms as described in http://www.xns.org/pages/XNS_License.pdf.
A 2003-01-09 posting from Dave Wentker, Gabe Wachob, and Mike Lindelsee provided the following (unofficial) clarification: "The XRI TC: (1) is not an effort to standardize XNS; (2) is not working on a replacement for HTTP URLs; (3) is discussing some of the ideas presented in XNS as well as other Web standards/open specifications; (4) must develop specifications that complement existing/emerging Web Services standards..." See the list 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
- Announcement 2003-01-08: "OASIS Members Launch Effort to Establish Common Identification Scheme for Distributed Directory Services. Advanced Micro Devices, DataPower, EDS, Novell, Neustar, NRI Pacific, OneName, Visa International, and Others Collaborate to Define Extensible Resource Identifier."
- Proposal for OASIS Extensible Resource Identifier Technical Committee (XRI TC). 2002-12-06.
- XRI TC website
- Mailing list archive for TC discussion. Use the subscription manager to subscribe.
- Mailing list archive for 'xri-comment'
- OASIS Technical Committees
- XNS Public Trust Organization (XNSORG)
- "The Identity Web. An Overview of XNS and the OASIS XRI TC XML Working Group." By Marc LeMaitre (VP Technology Strategy, OneName Corporation). December 17, 2002. Presented to the XML.gov XML Working Group.
- See: "Extensible Name Service (XNS)" - Main reference page.