(This section is obsolete)
The objects on the network which are to be named and addressed include typically objects which can be retrieved, and objects which can be searched. There is a great variety of other objects which may support other operations. We imply nothing about the contents of objects in this document. Whereas human-readable documents are currently the center of interest of the field, we envisage all aspects discussed in this paper applying to generalized objects when systems to handle them become available. The "object" is the unit of reference and need not correspond to any unit of storage. We refer to objects which can be searched as "indexes". We emphasize that this is the abstract view of the client, and these objects need not correspond to physical files on computers. We refer to the person who does the retrieval or searching as the user.

Within this document, we use the terms "name" very generally for a string of characters describing an object, whatever its combination of properties mentioned below. (The term usually has a narrower meaning but we needed some term for the universal set.). This uniform syntax applied to a generic name is known as a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). The term "address" is reserved for an string which specifies a more or less physical location. The term "locator" refers to a URL as here defined. URIs which have a greater persistence than URLs are referred to as URNs.