[uf-discuss] format for identifiers?

C. Hudley chudley at gmail.com
Mon Nov 28 05:37:58 PST 2005

On 11/23/05, David Osolkowski <qidydl at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think the question might have been misread.  I understood the question to
> be, "is there or should there be a microformat for indicating that something
> IS an identifier", as opposed to "is there or should there be a microformat
> FOR identifiers".  E.g. given the string "urn:isbn:<whatever>", indicating
> that that string represents an identifier.

Right, just what I meant... thanks for saying it much more clearly!

> I would suggest that the point of the identifier is that it represents some
> resource, and merely marking up a string as being an identifier doesn't
> accomplish much without being able to dereference it and obtain the resource
> it identifies.

Sure it can, like knowing a phone number helps accomplish some things
before you call it... you save it, you share it, etc., and also dial
as needed.

> Saying "urn:isbn:<whatever>" is an identifier doesn't do
> much good; the point is that given that identifier, I can tell that it's
> talking about a book and I can go obtain information about that book.

Yes, the objective won't always *just* be "obtaining the resource". 
In the case of (possibly) embedding an identifer inside of other
microformats, you might simply end up with an unambiguous way to refer
to the object you already have in hand.  You could then maybe use that
to check for updates to that object, or to combine the data you have
there with data from other sources for the same item, to name a few.

Perhaps I'm just misreading you, or perhaps you intentionally
contradicted yourself to make the same point I wish to make :), but
this makes the point well that if you mark up the identifier as such,
then you *can* figure out what it is and go obtain information about
it.  Otherwise, how would you know which URIs on a page to attempt to

In any case, unless I'm misunderstanding something, it seems
inconsistent to say that "URIs solve this need for marking up
identifiers so there's no need for any more work here" and to have a
class value "url" for marking up URLs in hCard.  It seems like their
requirements are similar.

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