IESG Statement on RFC3406 and URN Namespaces Registry Review

Date: 27 Feb 2008

RFC 3406: URN Namespace Definitions
Registry: http://www.iana.org/assignments/urn-namespaces
Issue: Review processes and criteria

The guidelines in RFC3406 on the requirements for registering new formal namespaces include several review steps (these do not apply to namespaces other than formal namespaces):

  • Review on the urn-nid at apps.ietf.org (now urn-nid at ietf.org)
  • Expert review on behalf of IANA
  • IETF Consensus including IETF Last Call and IESG Evaluation

The RFC also provides a list of considerations that might be used in review by all these parties. The considerations in section 4.3 only apply to formal namespaces:

  • Benefit to some community (Section 4.3)
  • How a general Internet user may use the namespace, including open assignment of identifiers and open operation of resolution servers if applicable (Section 4.3)
  • Uniqueness guarantees (Appendix A)
  • Persistence guarantees (Appendix A)

Since formal namespaces are often assigned to organizations that make assignments within the namespace, and the organization may add new sub-namespaces and functionality in the future, reviewers of URN Namespace applications cannot directly verify benefit, openness, uniqueness and persistence. Reviewers can only look at the organization's assurances that they will make assignments with those benefits or guarantees. Given the review that URN namespace applications already get, the current policy of the IESG is to follow the advice of the expert reviewer on approving such namespace applications.

The IESG suggests that a change to RFC3406 to reduce the overhead of these namespace applications might also be desirable.