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Official Standards Documents

RFC 1736
Functional Recommendations for Internet Resource Locators (Informational)
Specifies a set of requirements for Internet resource locators, but does not specify any specific schemes for such locators (see RFC 1738 for scheme descriptions). Useful for understanding the reasoning behind the URL (and other Internet naming schemes) approach.

RFC 1738
Uniform Resource Locators (Informational)
Specifies the encoding mechanisms for URLs, and defines the most commone URL schemes (http, ftp, mailto, news, telnet). Partial, or Relative URLs are defined in a separate RFC (1808).

RFC 1808
Relative Uniform Resource Locators (Informational)
Describes how resources can be located relative to a given resource by specifying relative URLs.

RFC 1959
An LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) URL Format (Proposed Standard)
Specifies a URL scheme for constructing LDAP URLs. The syntax for relative URLs is not sensible unless the reader understands the basics of LDAP itself (described later).

RFC 2056
Uniform Resource Locators for Z39.50 (Proposed Standard)
Specifies a URL scheme for constructing Z39.50 URLs -- Z39.50 Z39.50 is an information retrieval protocol commonly used with library catalog systems.

Corporate Specifications

There are, at present, no proprietary URL specifications.

Standards Proposals

Uniform Resource Locators (URL)
A Uniform Resource Locator is a compact string representation of a location for use in identifying an abstract or physical resource. This document defines the general syntax and semantics of URLs, including both absolute and relative locators, and guidelines for their use and for the definition of new URL schemes. It revises and replaces the generic definitions in RFC 1738 and RFC 1808.

Data: URL scheme
A new URL scheme, "data:", is defined. It allows inclusion of small data items as "immediate" data, as if it had been included externally.

A FTP URL Format
This document defines the format of Uniform Resource Locators (URL) for the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) using the general URL syntax defined in RFC xxxx, Uniform Resource Locators (URL). It is a one of a suite of documents which replace RFC 1738, Uniform Resource Locators, and RFC 1808, Relative Uniform Resource Locators.

A Gopher URL Format
This document defines the format of Uniform Resource Locators (URL) for the Gopher and Gopher+ protocols using the general URL syntax defined in RFC xxxx, Uniform Resource Locators (URL). It is a one of a suite of documents which replace RFC 1738, Uniform Resource Locators, and RFC 1808, Relative Uniform Resource Locators.

Content-ID and Message-ID Uniform Resource Locators
The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) schemes, "cid:" and "mid:" allow references to messages and the body parts of messages. For example, within a single multipart message, one HTML body part might include embedded references to other parts of the same message.

IMAP is a rich protocol for accessing remote message stores. It provides an ideal mechanism for accessing public mailing list archives as well as private and shared message stores. This document defines a URL scheme for referencing objects on an IMAP server.

The RWhois Uniform Resource Locator
RWhois is an Internet directory access protocol that is defined in RFC1714[1]. This document describes a format for an "RWhois:" Uniform Resource Locator that will allow Internet clients to have direct access to the RWhois protocol. An RWhois URL will represent a single query to an RWhois server.

WHOIS++ URL Specification
This document defines a new Uniform Resource Locator (URL) scheme "whois++:", which provides a convention within the URL framework for referring to WHOIS++ servers and the data held within them. It does not specify a standard.

NFS URL Scheme
A new URL scheme, "nfs:" is defined. It is used to refer to files and directories on NFS servers. The scheme uses the public filehandle and multi-component lookup to access server data with a minimum of protocol overhead. The NFS protocol provides access to shared filesystems across networks. It is designed to be machine, operating system, network architecture, and transport protocol independent.

The service: URL Scheme
The "service:" URL scheme is used to provide service access information for arbitrary network services. These URLs provide an extensible framework for client based network software to obtain configuration information required to make use of network services. A service: URL may be accompanied by a set of well defined attributes which define the characteristics of the service. These attributes may convey protocol configuration information to client software or service characteristics meaningful to end users.

irc: URL scheme
A new URL scheme "irc:" is defined. The irc URL scheme is used to refer to either IRC (Internet Relay Chat) servers or individual entities (channels or people) on IRC servers.

VEMMI URL Specification
A new URL scheme, "vemmi:" is defined. It allows VEMMI client software and VEMMI terminals to connect to multimedia interactive services compliant to the VEMMI standard (Enhanced Man-Machine Interface for Videotex and Multimedia/Hypermedia Information Retrieval Services), sometimes abbreviated as VErsatile MultiMedia Interface.

Videotex URL Specification
A new URL scheme, "videotex:" is defined. It allows videotex client software or terminals to connect to videotex services compliant to the ITU-T and ETSI videotex standards.

Uniform Resource Locators for Television and Telephony
World-Wide Web browsers are starting to appear on a variety of consumer electronic devices, such as televisions and both cellular and wireline telephones. On these devices, some of the currently defined URL schemes are inappropriate. For example, many of these devices lack local storage, so the "file:" scheme is of little use. However, these devices usually have access to other sources of information, such as television broadcasts and voice telephone services. This draft proposes three new URL schemes for accessing such information on appropriate devices.

The Handle System
The Handle System provides identifiers for digital objects and other resources in distributed computer systems. These identifiers are known as handles. The system ensures that handles are unique and that they can be retained over long time periods. Since the system makes no assumptions about the characteristics of the items that are identified, handles can be used in a wide variety of systems and applications.
The handle system has the following components: naming authorities, handle generators, the global handle server, local handle servers, caching handle servers, client software libraries, proxy servers, and administrative tools. For reasons of performance and availability, the global, local, and caching servers are implemented as distributed systems comprising many server computers. All components, except the local handle server, have been implemented and are available for general use by the research community.
The handle system provides all the capabilities listed in RFC 1737, Functional Requirements for Uniform Resource Names

References/See Also

URNs, URIs and URCs -- Local documentation
The local documentation page on Uniform Resource Names (URNs), Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) and Uniform Resource Characteristics (URCs). These concepts are strongly related to URLs.

IETF URI Working Group Notes (Group is now closed)
This site contains notes from the IETF URI working group, including lists of RFC and Internet drafts, as well as referencs to related working groups and informal working documents. Although the group has closed, this site still contains up-to-date reference material.

IETF URN Working Group Notes
The The goal of this working group is to define both a Uniform Resource Name (URN) framework and an initial set of components that fit this framework. This site gives an overview of the groups mandate, and provides a list of Internet Drafts that have been prepared by group members.

W3C Notes on Addressing Issues
A collection of notes by the W3C on addressing issues, including URLs. A good place to find information on addressing issues.

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© Ian S. Graham, 1994-1996
Last Updated: 17 December 1996