We are developing a general API management tool to provide different APIs (unAPI, SRU, OAI-PMH...) with different record formats (MARC, MODS, DC...) to our databases. We now stumbled upon some confusion regarding XML formats. The basic question is "what is a format and how do you refer to it?"

I came to the conclusion that at least SRU schema identifiers are useless. In addition you can extract XML namespace URIs from XML Schemas, so all you need to identify a format is a link to its XML Schema.

I wrote a more detailed blog posting about this at

Does anyone of you relies on SRU schema identifiers when consuming SRU?
I think at least for XML-based formats we should only use the XML Schema as authoritative reference. Sure there are different applications of variants of one schema, but then it makes no sense to use global identifiers in addition to local names.


Jakob Voß <jakob.v...@gbv.de>, skype: nichtich
Verbundzentrale des GBV (VZG) / Common Library Network
Platz der Goettinger Sieben 1, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
+49 (0)551 39-10242, http://www.gbv.de

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