It seemed like a good idea
URIs as the glue of the 'Semantic Web'
Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the WWW (and director of the W3C) created HTML, HTTP, and Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). URLs developed in Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) with the addition of Uniform Resource Names (URNs). URIs are a key piece of the W3C's vision for a self-describing Web.
URIs provide a relatively easy way (through domain names) to identify ownership or provenance of a vocabulary.
URIs are a loose family
URI schemes are free to define their own rules for comparison and (if appropriate) resolution. RFC 2396 only provides a loose syntactical framework.
URIs come with user understandings
Because URIs include URLs, and most users associate URLs with retrievable resources, there are constant questions regarding the relationship between the entity body named by a URI and the namespace. (According to the spec, there isn't any definite relation.)
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