9.753 Quoting URLs

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Wed, 24 Apr 1996 11:47:18 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 753.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Andrew Burday <andy@dep.philo.mcgill.ca> (24)
Subject: Quoting URLs in plain text


Hope this isn't too horrendous a piece of nitpicking... In a note to the
Humanist list, someone recently wrote:

> <http://cethmac.princeton.edu> as of 1 May. Our new URL is
> <http://www.ceth.rutgers.edu/>, which has been running since the fall. If

FWIW, the relevant RFC recommends (but doesn't require) that URLs in a
plain text context be prefaced with "URL:". (Someone recently pointed
this out to me; I had been happily ignorant of it for a long time myself.)
See the appendix to


It makes sense to have a standardized way to represent URLs outside the
context of html. Guessing based on the location of white space, colons,
and so on is always going to be flawed. Suppose I just want to include a
hypothetical example, e.g. <http://foo.bar.edu/dont/click/on/this> --
because clicking on it won't do anything? Say I include the angle
brackets just to make it stand out from the context, as people often do.
No algorithm could recognize that that is not supposed to be a link,
unless it were looking for <URL:> or something similar.

Of course, who the heck knows how the authors of Eudora and other non-HTML
software that claims to be able to recognize URLs have actually
implemented that ability... Anyway, it seems like a sensible convention
that's worth *trying* to support.