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1 Definition

  • Uniform Resource Names (URNs) are intended to serve as persistent, location-independent, universal resource identifiers (URIs).

2 Examples

Today, most popular URNs are probably DOIs (stable URIs used by publishers of scientific articles).

Here are a few URN examples (frankly, I don't understand why the "urn" is needed here - Daniel K. Schneider):


3 URNs vs. URLs

As everybody knows, URLs change all the time. Web pages move and CMS/Databases are reorganized. Some of the information won't be dead but it will be moved to other places. If information is important (e.g. identification of a scientific article, URN resolvers may be able to find it again).

Example of a URI in both URL and URI form (from RFC 3986):

     \_/   \______________/\_________/ \_________/ \__/
      |           |            |            |        |
   scheme     authority       path        query   fragment
      |   _____________________|__
     / \ /                        \

4 Links

5 References

Related standards
Introductory articles
  • Dan Connolly (2005). Untangle URIs, URLs, and URNs, Naming and the problem of persistence, IBM developerWorks article, HTML