[this is mostly a placeholder for now -- unedited notes follow]
Here's what we have in mind:
This example is the identifier for the majority opinion in NY Times v. Tasini.
It breaks into
-- the scheme oai_lii should be the same for all identifiers, everywhere, and
be associated with a series of standards documents and formal xml schemas.
-- the namespace identifier law.cornell.edu is a domain name registered and consistently
maintained by this particular information provider.
-- components of the local-identifier portion are separated by forward slashes.
It is probably
dangerous to think of this as a path-specification per se, since that implies a hierarchy among
the components that may not be an accurate model of what they represent.
-- the first component of the local-identifier portion is an ISO- two-letter
identifying the country of origin of the opinion
-- the last component of the local-identifier portion is an arbitrary string
to a particular item. In this example it is semantically loaded (with a docket number and
designator indicating the opinion type), but it would not have to be. Some will prefer
that it not be.
-- the "in between" components of the local-identifier may be used
in any consistent way that
a data provider sees fit. Here we have used "federal/scotus" to identify the decision as
belonging to the Supreme Court of the United States, a court within the US federal system. We
might use "federal/usca/8" for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, or "state/ny/appdiv/8" for
the Eighth Appellate Division of the State of New York. In general we think it preferable
to use this to loosely model or offer hints about the issuing body that created the document.
Eventually some kind of naming registry will be necessary (as is true of many other data elements
in this world). We think it is a TERRIBLE idea to use this identifier to model existing print
publication practices (eg. "oai_lii:bigpublisher.com:us/federal_reporters/f2d/volumeX_pageY"
is really not such a hot idea), but do it if you must.