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RFC 3616

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A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace for Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents (FIPA)


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Network Working Group                                     F. Bellifemine
Request for Comments: 3616                            Telecom Italia Lab
Category: Informational                                I. Constantinescu
                                                             S. Willmott
                                                          September 2003

              A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace for
           Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents (FIPA)

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003).  All Rights Reserved.


   This document describes a Uniform Resource Name Namespace
   Identification (URN NID) for the Foundation for Intelligent Physical
   Agents (FIPA). This URN NID will be used for identification of
   standard components published by the FIPA standards body in the area
   of Agent technology.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
   2.  Specification Template. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
   3.  Namespace Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   4.  Community Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   7.  References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       7.1.  Normative References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       7.2.  Informative References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   8.  Authors' Addresses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   9.  Full Copyright Statement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8

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1.  Introduction

   The Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents (FIPA) was established
   in 1996 in Geneva, Switzerland.  FIPA is an international non-profit
   association of companies and organizations dedicated to promoting the
   industry of intelligent agents by openly developing specifications
   supporting interoperability among agents and agent-based
   applications.  The core mission of the FIPA standards consortium is
   to facilitate the interworking of agents and agent systems across
   multiple vendors' platforms.  Since its inception, FIPA has counted
   more than 60 member companies from over 20 different countries

   FIPA publishes technical specifications, schemas, diagrams and other
   documentation related to the area of Agent technology.  FIPA wishes
   to create and manage globally unique, persistent, location-
   independent identifiers for these resources.

2.  Specification Template

   Namespace ID:


   Registration Information:

      Version 1
      Date: 2002-02-28

   Declared registrant of the namespace:

      Name:           FIPA Secretariat (J. Kelly)
      Affiliation:    Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents (FIPA)
      Address:        c/o Me Jean-Pierre Jacquemoud
                      2, rue Bellot
                      CH-1206 Geneve

   Declaration of structure:

   The identifier has a hierarchical structure as follows:

      urn:<assigned number>:{subspace-id1}:{subspace-id2}:...

      subspace-ids can be any US-ASCII string compliant with URI syntax
      and not containing the ":" character.  The subspaces are used to
      divide the assigned namespace along one or more logical schemes.

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   Examples of such schemes are:

      * By standardization area:

      * By technical committee:

   Relevant ancillary documentation:


   Identifier uniqueness considerations:

      Assignment of URNs in the requested namespace will be managed by
      the FIPA Architecture Board (FAB) which will ensure that URNs
      assigned in the requested namespace are unique.

   Identifier persistence considerations:

      FIPA is committed to maintaining the availability and persistence
      of all resources identified by assigned URNs.

   Process of identifier assignment:

      Assignment of URNs in the requested namespace will be managed by
      the FIPA Architecture Board (FAB) which is responsible for
      approval of all specifications published by FIPA.

   Process for identifier resolution:

      FIPA will maintain published lists of assigned identifiers on its
      web pages at

   Rules for Lexical Equivalence:

      URNs are lexically equivalent if they are lexically identical.

   Conformance with URN Syntax:

      No special considerations.

   Validation mechanism:

      None specified.

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3.  Namespace Considerations

   As part of the consideration of the URN namespace issue, FIPA has
   engaged in a survey of existing and proposed URN NID schemes which
   might be used instead of applying for a dedicated scheme.  FIPA's
   specific requirements are that the namespace should be:

   -  Globally unique
   -  Persistent
   -  Location-independent
   -  Reflect the logical structure of FIPA specifications (see section
   -  Be purely logical and without reference to "location" related
      elements such as (in particular) domain names/Domain Name System
      (DNS) entries such as URLs
   -  Be managed by the FIPA organisation to ensure the integrity,
      correctness and uniqueness of the namespace.

   The closest to the requirements identified by FIPA were the proposed
   Vocabulary (VOC) [4] and TAG [3] schemes:

   -  In particular, TAG could be used in conjunction with the domain
      name "" which FIPA has registered to generate unique
      identifiers. However, the problems with this scheme from FIPA's
      perspective are (in order of importance):

      *  It has not yet (to our knowledge) been approved / accepted by
         IESG or IANA (making it inappropriate for use in a standards

      *  The labels generated related to the time date, owner of the
         label but specify no particular semantics for the content/text
         of the label which would be desirable to identify a hierarchy
         of standards.

      *  The uniqueness in the scheme is DNS based.

   -  VOC provides a more logical structure for a logical hierarchy of
      specifications but still presents the following problems:

      *  It has not yet (to our knowledge) been approved / accepted by
         IESG or IANA making it inappropriate for use in a standards

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      *  The uniqueness in the scheme is DNS based.

   In both cases, there is no clear authority for managing the
   correctness of the namespace.

4.  Community Considerations

   FIPA standards address the area of interoperability between
   autonomous software systems (agents) in open environments such as
   company intranets or the Internet itself.  Communication between such
   systems is highly contingent on developers and the systems themselves
   being able to unambiguously identify which technology specifications
   (interaction protocols, languages, domain descriptions and the like)
   are to be used for particular purposes in any given interaction.

   The use of a managed, unique namespace for FIPA specification
   components would therefore be of great benefit:

   -  To the FIPA standards process: providing unique labels for
      individual specification components.

   -  To developers implementing systems based on FIPA standards:
      identifying which specifications are in use in a particular
      system, allowing them to develop software able to flexibly
      distinguish between different technologies used.

   -  To users of networks making use of FIPA technology (in whole or in
      part): improving the integrity and clarity of interactions in the
      system, allowing them to precisely identify technology
      requirements for interacting with any given software system using
      FIPA technology.

   Whilst the assignment of identifiers is managed by the FIPA
   Architecture Board the application for identifiers is through the
   open FIPA standards process - thus anybody following the process is
   entitled to request an identifier for technologies they consider
   relevant to FIPA's work.

   Final acceptance of any FIPA standard is contingent on a vote of the
   FIPA membership.  Although membership is not free (see [2] for
   details of costs), it is open to any organisation with an interest in
   FIPA's work.

   The initial plans for identifier resolution are to host a web page on to provide for resolution of identifiers FIPA
   will also encourage third parties (FIPA members and others) to host

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   more advance dereferencing service or to develop software to provide
   dereferencing where these provide a correct and accurate reflection
   of the namespace.  FIPA itself may also engage in such activities.

5.  IANA Considerations

   The IANA has registered formal URN namespace 14, to FIPA within the
   IANA registry of URN NIDs.

6.  Security Considerations

   The FIPA URN Namespace ID shares the security considerations outlined
   in RFC 3406 [1], but has no other known security considerations.

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

   [1]  Daigle, L., van Gulik, D., Iannella, R. and P. Faltstrom,
        "Uniform Resource Names (URN) Namespace Definition Mechanisms",
        BCP 66, RFC 3406, October 2002.

7.2.  Informative References

   [2]  Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents.

   [3]  Kindberg, T. and S. Hawke, "The 'tag' URI scheme and URN
        namespace", Work in Progress, September 2001.

   [4]  Stickler, P., "The 'voc:' URI scheme for Vocabulary Terms and
        Codes", Work in Progress, January 2002.

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8.  Authors' Addresses

   Fabio Bellifemine
   Chair of the FIPA Architecture Board
   Telecom Italia Lab

   EMail:   Fabio.Bellifemine@TILAB.COM

   Ion Constantinescu


   Steven Willmott
   Universitat Polit/210cnica de Catalunya


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9.  Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
   and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
   the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
   Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
   developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
   copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
   followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assignees.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.