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According to http://www.w3.org/Addressing, a UniformResourceName (URN) is

  1. An UniformResourceIdentifier that has an institutional commitment to persistence, availability, etc. Note that this sort of UniformResourceIdentifier may also be a UniformResourceLocator. See, for example, PersistentUniformResourceLocators.

  1. A particular scheme, URN:, specified by RFC 2141 and related documents, intended to serve as persistent, location-independent, resource identifiers.

In other words, a UniformResourceName would identify a resource by a "name" tied to that resource no matter where it was located in the network space of the internet. For instance, the name "Ottawa, Ontario, Canada weather" would map to UniformResourceLocator http://www.ec.gc.ca/weather/yow.html. But, if Environment Canada changed their domain, it would map to, say, http://www.environmentcanada.ca/weather/ottawa.html. However, users who always referred to the resource as "Ottawa, Ontario, Canada weather" would notice no difference.

A URN is like the identity of a resource. A URL is where the resource happens to be. Sure, in the RealWorld, you can uniquely identify people by their physical location (thanks to the PauliExclusionPrinciple?), but people tend to change their location quite frequently. However, I'm always going to be SunirShah and you're always going to be you.

The actual syntax for a URN look something like


Which might end up as


but I doubt it. It's still up in the air.

UniformResourceNames are a subset of UniformResourceIdentifiers. Contrast UniformResourceLocator.

Note that the intersection of the set of URNs and the set of URLs is non-empty. (some URNs can be URLs and vice versa)



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