Uniform Resource Characteristics (urc)

Status: Concluded January, 1997 
 Mark Madsen 
 Rich Petke 
Description of Working Group:
Uniform Resource Characteristics (URCs) are descriptions, such as
bibliographic or configuration control records, of Internet-accessible
resources. Particular communities expend considerable effort to develop
descriptions that are appropriate for their resources. Many of these
descriptions are notable more for their commonalties and their
gratuitous differences than for their necessary, community-specific,
These resource descriptions are of interest to the IETF because
Internet applications that make use of such descriptions display a need
for at least three forms of interoperability. The first is for
separately-developed applications to exchange descriptions that conform
to a commonly-agreed description scheme. The second is to translate
descriptions from one scheme to another with minimum loss of
information. The third is for two applications that use the same
descriptive scheme but different transfer protocols to exchange
descriptions with the aid of a gateway.
To provide these forms of interoperability, the URC-WG is chartered to
standardize the framework for a family of descriptive datatypes known
as URC subtypes. The framework will specify:
    1) The structure of the datatypes and a minimal query capability,
       as well as the rules for mapping the datatypes and queries to
       and from at least two record formats.
    2) The conveyance of those record formats in well-established
       Internet transfer protocols.
    3) At least two syntaxes for defining new datatypes.
    4) The semantics of a very small number of descriptive elements,
       such as URL and Content-type, that are needed for retrieving
       resources over the network, are appropriate for all URCs
       to utilize, and are within the domain of IETF standards.
In order to demonstrate all the forms of interoperation, the URC-WG is
also chartered to standardize a small number of particular URC
subtypes, and a small number of realizations of the URC framework in
well-established Internet transfer protocols.