The news locators refer to either news group names or article message identifiers which must conform to the rules for a Message-Id of RFC 1036 (Horton 1987). A message identifier may be distinguished from a news group name by the presence of the commercial at "@" character. These rules imply that within an article, a reference to a news group or to another article will be a valid URL (in the partial form).
A news URL may be dereferenced using NNTP (RFC 977, Kantor 1986) (The ARTICLE by message-id command ) or using any other protocol for the conveyance of usenet news articles, or by reference to a body of news articles already received.
Among URLs the "news" URLs are anomalous in that they are location-independent. They are unsuitable as URN candidates because the NNTP architecture relies on the expiry of articles and therefore a small number of articles being available at any time. When a news: URL is quoted, the assumption is that the reader will fetch the article or group from his or her local news host. News host names are NOT part of news URLs.
An outstanding problem is that the message identifier is insufficient to allow the retrieval of an expired article, as no algorithm exists for deriving an archive site and file name. The addition of the date and news group set to the article's URL would allow this if a directory existed of archive sites by news group.
Suggested subject of study in conjunction with NNTP working group. Further extension possible may be to allow the naming of subject threads as addressable objects.