Uniform Resource Characteristic

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In computer science, a Uniform Resource Characteristic (URC) is a string of characters representing the metadata of a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), a string identifying a Web resource. A URC binds a URI's associated Uniform Resource Name (URN), a unique name for a Web resource, to its Uniform Resource Locator (URL), the location at which a Web resource can be found. [1] URCs were proposed as a specification in the mid-1990s, but were never adopted.

The use of a URC would allow the location of a Web resource to be obtained from its standard name, via the use of a resolving service.[1] It was also to be possible to obtain a URC from a URN by the use of a resolving service.[2] The design goals of URCs were that they should be simple to use, easy to extend, and compatible with a wide range of technological systems.[3] The URC syntax was intended to be easily understood by both humans and software.[4]


During the early to mid-1990s, basic Web technologies were still in their infancy. Naming documents was, according to Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, "probably the most crucial aspect of design and standardization in an open hypertext system".[5] In most discussion, naming was partitioned into location (URLs) and identification (URNs) as independent applications of an URI.[6] URCs were a third identifier type, intended to provide a standardized representation of document properties, such as owner, encoding, access restrictions or cost.[7]

URCs were the subject of an IETF working group around 1994/1995. However, the working group never produced a final standard and URCs were never widely adopted in practice. Even so, the concepts on which URCs were based influenced subsequent technologies such as the Dublin Core and Resource Description Framework.


  1. ^ a b Daniel, Ron Jr.; Mealling, Michael (27 March 1995). "URC Scenarios and Requirements". IETF. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  2. ^ IETF URI Working Group (14 April 1994). "URN to URC resolution scenario". IETF. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  3. ^ Mealling, Michael (8 July 1994). "Encoding and Use of Uniform Resource Characteristics". IETF. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  4. ^ Hoffman, Paul E.; Daniel, Ron Jr. (21 April 1995). "Trivial URC Syntax: urc0". IETF. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  5. ^ Berners-Lee, Tim (1991). "Design Issues for the World Wide Web: Document Naming". Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  6. ^ Mealling, Michael (5 April 1994). "Specification of Uniform Resource Characteristics". IETF. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  7. ^ Sollins, Karen; Masinter, Larry (December 1994). "Functional Requirements for Uniform Resource Names". IETF. Retrieved 2013-03-07.

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