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Versions: 00 RFC 4350

Internet-Draft                          F. Hendrikx and C. Wallis
Expires: August 10, 2005                E-government Unit
                                        State Services Commission
                                        New Zealand Government
                                        February 11, 2005





              A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Formal Namespace
                      for the New Zealand Government

            Suggested filename: <draft-hendrikx-wallis-urn-nzl-00.txt>

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Copyright Notice

    Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).


Abstract

    This document describes a Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace
    Identification (NID)convention as prescribed by the World Wide Web
    Consortium (W3C) for identifying, naming, assigning and managing
    persistent resources and XML artefacts for the New Zealand
    Government.

    Discussion and comments on this draft should be sent to the authors'
    addresses located at end of this document.



1.  Introduction

    The New Zealand Government has already adopted XML as its primary
    means of storing and exchanging data.  The New Zealand Government
    publishes documents, schemas and other government artefacts.

    The New Zealand Government now wishes to define a namespace
    convention and structure for its agencies by creating and managing
    globally unique, persistent, location independent identifiers for
    their schema resources and XML artefacts.

    This is a natural extension of the development of the Dublin Core
    based New Zealand Government metadata standard (New Zealand
    Government Locator Service - NZGLS) used by government agencies to
    create metadata and made operational to the public through an
    all-of-government portal.

    The New Zealand Government wishes to provide guidance on namespaces
    to its agencies so that they use a portion of the adopted namespace
    to minimise the risk of them creating different (and potentially
    conflicting) namespace structures.  This issue potentially extends
    to data exchange beyond government into the private sector of New
    Zealand, thus placing the government under an obligation to provide
    guidance in the assignment and management of additional namespaces.

    The New Zealand Government wishes to register the country NID, NZL,
    with the Name Specific String (NSS) split into two parts; the first
    part being a specific sub type <nz-specifier> and the second part
    as a <nz-specifier defined string>.

    As part of the URN structure the New Zealand Government wishes to
    define and subsequently manage the "govt" specifier.  It will also
    assign additional specifiers requested by other New Zealand
    organisations in accordance with the rules and processes proposed
    herein.

    The New Zealand Government hoped to make use of the two letter
    Namespace Identifier (NID) combination for its ubiquitous country
    code, NZ.  But since there is as yet no process to register these,
    (refer RFC 3406) the government has opted to request its well known
    alternative three letter country code (refer ISO 3166).

    This namespace specification requests a formal namespace.

    Please note that this paper includes a discussion on the use of
    diacritic marks, in particular, Maori macrons.  Maori is an official
    language of New Zealand.  In recognition of the established practice
    of publishing RFCs for a global audience in ASCII text where
    diacritic marks are unable to be recognised, the text has been
    presented without macrons.

2.  Specification Template

        Namespace ID:

                "NZL".

        Registration Information:

                Version Number: 1

                Date: 2005-03-31

        Declared registrant of the namespace:

                E-government Unit

                c/o State Services Commission

                New Zealand Government

                100 Molesworth Street

                Wellington,

                New Zealand

                Email: e-GIF@ssc.govt.nz

        Declaration of structure:

The identifier has a hierarchical structure as follows:

urn:nzl:<nz-specifier>[:<nz-specifier defined string>]+

+ denotes one or more occurrences of nz-specifier defined strings all
delimited by a colon.

For example:

urn:nzl:govt:registering:dogs:registration:1-0
urn:nzl:govt:registering:firearms:form:1-3
urn:nzl:govt:registering:recreational_fishing:form:1-0

The <nz-specifier> and <nz-specifier defined string> can comprise any
UTF-8 characters compliant with URI syntax and must not contain the ":"
character (refer RFC 2396).  The exclusion of the colon from the list
of other characters means that the colon can only occur as a delimiter
between string values.  The values come from the terms listed in the
NZGLS.

The State Services Commission E-government Unit (SSC EGU) of the New
Zealand Government will take responsibility for the <nz-specifier>
"govt" and its sub level <nz-specifier defined string> terms; e.g.
"registering".

The SSC EGU of the New Zealand Government will take responsibility to
assign other <nz-specifiers> to organisations who apply and can satisfy
the SSC EGU that they have the capability to manage the sub level and
its applicable <nz-specifier defined string(s)>.


        Relevant ancillary documentation:

The function and noun syntax used in the <nz-specifier defined string>
is based on and taken from the NZGLS
(http://www.e.govt.nz/nzgls/thesauri/).


        Identifier uniqueness considerations:

Identifiers in the <nz-specifier> "govt" are defined and assigned in the
requested namespace by the SSC EGU after ensuring that the URNs to be
assigned are unique.  Uniqueness is achieved by checking against the
registry of previously assigned names.

The SSC EGU will ensure that the URNs to be assigned to other
organisations applying for other <nz-specifier(s)> (e.g. mil, co, org)
are unique by checking against the registry of previously assigned
names.

The SSC EGU will develop and publish the process for doing this which,
where applicable, is consistent with the process it uses for moderating
the .govt.nz Top Level Domain (TLD).


        Identifier persistence considerations:

The New Zealand Government is committed to maintaining uniqueness and
persistence of all resources identified by assigned URNs.

Given that the URN sought is NZL (the long held ISO 3166 Alpha-3
representation of the country) together with the country's independence
from any other jurisdiction expected to continue indefinitely, the URN
should also persist indefinitely.

Likewise, the <nz-specifier> "govt" has a very long life expectancy and
can be expected to remain unique for the foreseeable future.  The
assignment process guarantees that names are not reassigned.  The
binding between the name and its resource is permanent.

The SSC EGU will ensure that other organisations applying to manage
other <nz-specifier> Second Level Name (2LN) sub levels of the NZL URN
namespace; (e.g. mil, co, org) uniquely assign the namespace at this
level.


        Process of identifier assignment:

Under the "NZL" NID, the New Zealand Government will manage the <nz-
specifier> "govt" and leverage the existing NZGLS thesaurus for
identifier resources to maintain uniqueness.

The process of assigning URNs at the <nz-specifier> sub level will be
managed by the SSC EGU of the New Zealand Government. (The SSC EGU has
managed and maintained the NZGLS thesauri since its inception in 2002
as well as moderating the TLD, .govt.nz).
The SSC EGU will develop and publish the process for doing this which
is consistent with the process it uses for moderating the .govt.nz TLD,
where applicable.  The process for marketing the ".govt.nz" TLD can be
found at these links:

http://www.e.govt.nz/docs/mod-policy/chapter1.html

and

http://www.e.govt.nz/docs/mod-policy/chapter2.html

and is drawn from the 2LD policies and procedures of the New Zealand
Office of the Domain Name Commissioner http://dnc.org.nz (and
specifically http://www.dnc.org.nz/story/30043-35-1.html).

Other New Zealand organisations may apply to the SSC EGU to delegate
specifiers for resolution and management assigned by them.  Delegation
of this responsibility will not be unreasonably withheld provided the
processes for their resolution and management are robust and are
followed.

Organisations who apply to have a <nz-specifier> assigned to them must
satisfy the SSC EGU that they have the capability to responsibly manage
the 2LN sub level and its applicable <nz-specifier defined string(s)>.
The policies and procedures in the links above will be provided to
applicants as a guide and will be used by the SSC EGU to determine the
applicant's capability.

        Process of identifier resolution:

For the <nz-specifier> "govt", the SSC EGU will maintain lists of
assigned identifiers on its web pages at http://www.e.govt.nz/.

The SSC EGU will require other organisations that apply to manage other
<nz-specifier> sub levels to follow this practice unless there are
specific reasons (e.g. security) not to do so.

        Rules for Lexical Equivalence:

The lexical equivalence of the NZL namespace specific strings (NSSs) is
defined as an exact, but not case-sensitive string match. Best Practice
guidelines will specify:

a)      NZL in either upper or lower case
(The New Zealand government will assign names case-insensitive, to
ensure that there will not be two NZL URNs differing only by case)
.
b)      The first letter of each <nz-specifier> and <nz specifier
defined string> in upper case or the whole value in lower case

c)      Any identifier in NZL namespaces can be compared using the
normal mechanisms for percent-encoded UTF-8 strings.

Note that textual data containing diacritic marks (such as Maori
macrons) will not be treated as lexically equivalent to textual data
without diacritic marks; i.e. a distinction will be made.  It is
important to note that a macron can change the meaning of a word in the
Maori language.

The following explanation provides guidance in this respect.

NSS is any UTF-8 encoded string that is compliant with the URN syntax
(i.e. following the encoding rules for 8-bit characters).  Since Maori
is an official language in New Zealand and its use of diacritic marks
(in this case macrons) invokes the requirement to percent-encode
reserved characters, the following extract from
http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-fielding-uri-rfc2396bis-07.txt
is applicable.

    "When a new URI scheme defines a component that represents textual
    data consisting of characters from the Unicode character set [UCS],
    the data should be encoded first as octets according to the UTF-8
    character encoding [STD63], and then only those octets that do not
    correspond to characters in the unreserved set should be
    percent-encoded.  For example, the character A would be represented
    as "A", the character LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH GRAVE would be
    represented as "%C3%80", and the character KATAKANA LETTER A would
    be represented as "%E3%82%A2".

As described above, UTF-8 allows the use of diacritic marks such as New
Zealand Maori macrons.

In the New Zealand context, the word "Maori" carries a diacritic mark
over the "a".  A URI including the macronised word "Maori" would be
percent-encoded as M%C4%81ori.

Given that the "govt" namespaces will draw from the NZGLS thesaurus
(that does not at present utilise diacritic marks) the "govt"
<nz-specifier> will not utilise UTF-8's percent encoding convention for
diacritic marks. An "a" with a diacritic mark will be presented simply
as an "a".  There is no mapping or equivalence table.  Therefore, the
requirement to distinguish between terms that have diacritic marks and
those that do not, will not arise in the <nz-specifier> "govt".

Other organisations may use diacritic marks with certain conditions.
Organisations that apply to manage other <nz-specifier> sub levels of
the NZL URN namespace could utilise UTF-8's diacritic functionality
provided they have the applicable processes to separate Maori language
terms using macrons from those that do not, in order to ensure
uniqueness in accordance with rule c) above.

        Conformance with URN Syntax:

                No special considerations.

        Validation mechanism:

None other than names being derived from the NZGLS thesaurus
"dictionary".

        Scope:

                Global, but primarily of National interest.

3. Namespace Considerations

The SSC EGU undertook a preliminary study of the URI alternatives
against the key requirements.  The options were narrowed down to five.
These were a private URI scheme, URL, PURL, IRI and URN.  URN was
considered to be the most appropriate URI against the criteria.

Consultation on the preliminary study was actively sought from The
Internet Society of NZ (InternetNZ), The NZ Computer Society,
applicable vendors and government agencies.  Publication on the
e-government web site allowed for public participation.

Points that should be noted are:

a)      With respect to the NID, the New Zealand Government is the
        first known jurisdiction to apply its globally known ISO 3166
        Alpha-3 country code to become a URN. One objective of the
        ISO 3166 Alpha-2 and 3 letter country codes was to provide
        uniqueness

b)      The namespace follows the logical structure of the NZGLS as
        shown in the examples above.


4. Community Considerations:

Providers of government information for data exchange benefit by the
publication of the namespace because it provides much needed guidance
on generating target namespaces for schema development using a process
that reflects what they already know รป namely metadata creation in NZGLS.
The identifiers under the "govt" specifier will track the terms used in
the New Zealand government thesaurus.

Consequently, New Zealanders will ultimately benefit since the exchange
of more structured information will potentially improve online
experiences in such areas as forms design.

Any citizen or organisation with Internet web browser capability will be
entitled to access the namespace and its associated application,
registration and resolution services.  While the assignment of
identifiers will be managed by the SSC EGU, additional specifiers, such
as mil, co, org and their <nz-specifier defined string(s)> can be openly
applied for and registered by anyone following an approved namespace
governance process and proof of the applicant's bona fide association
with the intended specifier (i.e. no squatting or hoarding).


5.  IANA Considerations:

This document includes a URN NID registration for NZL for entry in the
IANA registry of URN NIDs. The registration should not be actioned prior
to RFC publication.

6.  Security Considerations

No serious security implications are envisaged beyond the potential
threat of spoofing.  The application, registration and assignment of
subsequent specifiers will leverage existing government processes to
authenticate the applicants and their association with the proposed
specifier application.


7.  Acknowledgement

Since the specification described in this document is derived from
RFC 2396 and RFC 3406, the acknowledgements in those documents still
apply.  In addition, the authors wish to acknowledge Leslie Daigle
and Ted Hardie for their suggestions and review.


8.  References:

8.1.  Normative References

[1]  Daigle, L., van Gulik, D., Iannella, R. and Falstrom P,. "Uniform
Resource Names (URN) Namespace Definition Mechanisms, RFC 3406, October
2002.

[2]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R. and Masinter, L,. "Uniform Resource
Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax", RFC 2396, August 1998.

8.2.  Informative References

[3]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R and Masinter L,. "Uniform Resource
Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax draft-fielding-uri-rfc2396bis-07",
September 2004.

[4]  Narten, T,. Alvestrand, H,. "Guidelines for Writing an IANA
considerations Section in RFC's", RFC 2434, October 1998.

[5]  Bellifemine, F., Constantinescu, I., Willmott, S., "A Uniform
Resource Name (URN)Namespace for Foundation for Intelligent Physical
Agents (FIPA)", RFC 3616, September 2003.

[6] Mealling, M., "A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace for the
Liberty Alliance Project", RFC 3622, February 2004.

[7] URI Planning Interest Group, W3C/IETF (See acknowledgments)
September 2001,
<http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/NOTE-uri-clarification-20010921/.


9.  Authors Address

Ferry Hendrikx and Colin Wallis
E-government Unit
State Services Commission
PO Box 329
Wellington
New Zealand

Phone: +64 4 495 2856
Email: ferry.hendrikx@ssc.govt.nz
Email: colin.wallis@ssc.govt.nz

URI:   http://www.e.govt.nz

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