[open-bibliography] URNs for National Bib Numbers

Ross Singer ross.singer at talis.com
Wed Dec 8 21:39:49 UTC 2010

Right, the original RFC for NBNs is a little vague on a couple of
counts.  My interpretation of the section around that F-code is that
it's specific to the National Library of Finland and maybe its
inclusion in the RFC is to give implementers some guidance if they
have no persistent identifier scheme?  I don't really know (and
reading RFCs is akin to pouring acid in my eyes on an enjoyment

The RFC also gives the following URN template:

urn:nbn:{ISO 3166 code}-{NBN string}
urn:nbn:{ISO 3166 code}:{sub-namespace code}-{NBN string}

So, like Ben pointed out, I think the format for the bnb would be
something like:


although following the model that the Germans seem to use, it would
look more like:


but it's hard to tell.  Neither the National Library of Sweden nor the
National Library of Hungary appear to include their nbns in their
catalogs (so, by default, they aren't appearing in either library's

I definitely agree with you, re: the downside of using URNs.  I wonder
if it would be worthwhile to set up a purl like:


where "gb" could route to some nationally appropriate resolver?

Not sure.


On Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 3:40 PM, Ben O'Steen <bosteen at gmail.com> wrote:
> Further guidance from Ross (who I hope doesn't mind me relaying things
> here :))
> Year isn't necessary, the German guidance below doesn't use it:
> http://www.persistent-identifier.de/?link=860&lang=en
> And
> http://bnb.bibliographica.org/entry/GBA267005
> might be given a URN of:
> urn:nbn:gb:bnb:GBA267005
> Ben
> On Wed, 2010-12-08 at 20:28 +0000, Ben O'Steen wrote:
>> http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3188
>> Ross Singer just put this onto twitter a second ago and I think that
>> this might be an acceptable way to generate URNs for the bibliographic
>> data, specifically for the BNB data in my mind.
>> Eg as far as my understanding of the rfc goes,
>> http://bnb.bibliographica.org/entry/GBA267005 would have a URN of:
>> urn:nbn:gb-uk2001008809279
>> (using British Library id, originally "(Uk)008809279" and published year
>> of 2001)
>> URNs don't resolve so how we incorporate them or even if we incorporate
>> them is up for discussion :)
>> Including a triple of <http://bnb.bibliographica.org/entry/GBA267005>
>> <owl:sameAs> <urn:nbn:gb-uk2001008809279> might be a way perhaps,
>> replacing my ahem magicked open vocab term of 'blid' for the British
>> Library ID.
>> As to the end use, I'm not sure but this seems like it might sensible
>> and would trade one triple for another.
>> The con side to this is that it pushes a lot of meaning into the URI
>> format, the structure of which tells you about the source, year, and so
>> on without typing the property as being a british library id.
>> Any Ideas?
>> Ben
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