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Publication Policies



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This document describes the W3C policy for XML namespace allocation in W3C Technical Reports. This document is part a series of documents that describe W3C Technical Report Publication Policies.

Exceptions to this policy MAY be authorized by the Director.

1. Namespace URIs in Recommendation Track Documents, Group Notes, and other Working Drafts

Groups SHOULD use namespace URIs that have the characteristics of uniqueness.

Director approval is NOT REQUIRED when a namespace URI in a Technical Report has any of the following forms:


A trailing "/" MAY be used and does not require Director approval.

The W3C Webmaster allocates and authorizes namespace URIs having the forms listed above. W3C provides the service of allocating and maintaining persistent URIs so that those URIs remain stable during discussions. Allocation does not imply any endorsement by W3C of the related specifications. The W3C persistence policy only applies to URIs of the above forms, and does not apply to other URIs within (e.g., those for

Director approval is REQUIRED for all other namespace URIs. In particular:

1.1 Rationale for the Syntax

This syntax enables the W3C support staff to ensure very high level of persistence for namespace URIs, in terms of the non-reuse and the availability of any online materials (schemata etc).

The "" is used instead of "" (an internal decision made for the entire site many months ago) because:

The form "" cannot be readily implemented due to the diversity of policies governing each subtree of the W3C site. These policies vary in order to support the diversity of work styles and tools used across the Consortium. Therefore no consistent commitment to persistence can be made in such a sweeping way. Group participants should bear in mind that the W3C Team will be maintaining this Web space long after the groups have become more interested in other topics or have been closed.

2. Namespace URIs in Member and Team Submissions

Some Member and Team Submissions are designed to seed work on the Recommendation Track; others simply provide information or serve other purposes.

In all Member and Team Submissions:

  1. Namespace URIs MUST be dereferenceable, and
  2. Namespace Documents MUST describe the relationship between the defining specification and the namespace URI

When a Submission is designed to seed work on the Recommendation Track:

  1. Namespace URIs SHOULD follow the conventions for Recommendation Track documents in order to ease the later transition to the Rec Track. If it does not, the URI publisher MUST have clear persistence policy (similar to W3C's, i.e., that the URI publisher will make every effort to service requests for the Namespace Document).

3. Namespace Document

A Namespace Document describes the namespace, providing directly or by reference information for human and also, ideally, machine consumption. A Namespace Document is available for retrieval using a corresponding namespace URI.

When a namespace URI appears in a Recommendation Track document, the responsible group MUST publish a corresponding Namespace Document. In other contexts as well, groups SHOULD publish Namespace Documents. RDFS and/or OWL are used for RDF namespaces.

4. Namespace Changes over Time

The TAG finding titled The Disposition of Names in an XML Namespace explains how the use of a particular namespace may evolve over time. At the W3C, it is important for a group to state clearly its expectations for how use of the namespaces it controls will or will not change over time. Groups SHOULD document those expectations in [or clearly linked from] the Namespace Document. A draft TAG Finding Associating Resources with Namespaces provides additional guidance on the creation of such namespace documents. The namespace document could contain text along the following lines:

Example 1
The definitions of names in this namespace will not change from those given in the June 13 2007 version of the Foonly spec [ref. dated URI]. Subsequent versions of the Foonly spec which make any substantive changes will do so in a new namespace.
Example 2
This namespace URI will be used to refer to this and future versions of this specification. The specification defines language extension mechanisms and how to handle changes such as the addition of new terms to the language. W3C reserves the right to determine which changes (backward compatible or not) are in the interest of the community at large.
Example 3
This namespace URI will only be used to refer to this version of this specification: different URIs will be used for any and all new versions of the specification except as follows: This namespace URI may be reused in any update of the specification which is made for the purpose of clarification or bug fixes. These changes will be minor in that they do not (a) change the meaning or validity of existing documents written using the namespace, or (b) affect the operation of existing software written to process such documents.
Example 4 [Before CR]
Until the specification reaches W3C Candidate Recommendation (CR) status, this namespace URI may be reused by any update in such a way as to cause documents written using the namespace to become invalid or to change in meaning.
Example 5 [Before CR]
Until the specification reaches W3C Candidate Recommendation (CR) status, this namespace URI may be reused in such a way as to affect the operation of existing software written to process documents written according to this specification.

5. About This Document

Discussion of this policy is appropriate in the uri mailing list , www-tag, and various other lists.

More background:

Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. Send comments to
Thanks to Joseph Reagle for providing input for the polices and pointing out that a good policy should make namespace allocation automatic.

$Revision: 1.64 $ of $Date: 2006/04/25 18:08:34 $