Multilingual Linked Open Data Patterns

Descriptive URIs


Descriptive URIs use ASCII characters that are combined to represent terms or abbreviations of terms in some natural language. It is usually done with terms in English or in other Latin-based languages, like French, Spanish, etc. where only a small fraction of their alphabets is outside ASCII characters.


Descriptive URIs are appropriate when most of the terms are in English or in Latin-based languages. It can be also applied when interoperability with existing systems is vital.


An example of a URI that represents Armenia could be:


The characters that appear in a URI usually represent natural language terms to improve human-readability. Using simple URIs in ASCII has the advantage that ASCII characters are very well supported by almost any computer system. This pattern offers a good balance between readability and usability of resource identifiers.

However, for most languages other than English, the natural script usually contains characters outside of ASCII. In the case of languages with completely non-Latin scripts (Armenian, Arabic, Greek, etc.) ASCII only URIs are very restrictive and percent-encoding local names renders them unreadable.

See also

Descriptive URIs are also called meaningful URI local names in [Montiel 11], although they refer only to the local name part of the URI. This pattern is opposed to the opaque URIs pattern. When the restriction of only ASCII characters is removed, this pattern becomes the same as Full IRIs or Internationalized local names. It is related to the URL slug pattern where URIs are generated from text of keywords.