Stable references to digital objects can only be created with certainty at a national level if a standardised, persistent addressing system such as Uniform Resource Names (URNs) is used, so that URLs can be superseded. Therefore for all further activities within the EPICUR project can be derived from the vision:
The durability of an addressing system such as this can only be guaranteed if it is standardised, has institutional support and undergoes further development. Locally operated applications will not meet these requirements. From these considerations the following strategic action points have been formulated for this project.
In order that URNs can be referred to with certainty in national and international reference systems such as bibliographies, catalogues and search engines and transported across bibliographic exchange formats, standardised performance description, syntax and bibliographic capture of URNs is required. There is a need for action in various areas. EPICUR will be working actively to influence this development. This will continue through the entire duration of the project.
Within the context of the EPICUR project, the German National Library is pursuing the objective of creating the
foundations for co-operative, usable conventions for managing and resolving URNs, so that the benefits of
URNs as a standard can be consistently used, for example as references, search criteria or other access
mechanisms. In addition, quality marks are to be specified for the application of URNs in the namespace
"nbn:de" ("National Bibliography Number" for Germany).
A first version of the "URN Strategy of the German National Library" was published in December 2003.
As part of the CARMEN-AP4 project, a prototype URN resolver with basic functionality was developed, but this is not specific enough to be deployed in a productive environment. It is planned to develop the URN resolver to deliver further services as part of the EPICUR project. Error messages are also to be made more specific. The specifications are to be internationally agreed, especially with regard to other National Libraries. This discussion is planned for the first quarter of 2004.
The requirement to ensure that URNs provide permanent access to an object, can only be guaranteed with certainty, if the technical basis of the service offers a high degree of availability. This will be achieved as follows:
Further technical development comprises two areas:
At present (as at November 2003) a more developed version of the prototype is being tested with Sybase.