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§25.5. The Treaty of Babel and the IFID

During March and April 2006, an agreement was reached between the IF archive and most of the different systems for creating IF - of which Inform is only one - called the Treaty of Babel. While these different systems create computer programs which are quite different internally, the Treaty provides for works of IF to come with bibliographic data which identifies them in a standard way.

Inform is fully compliant with the Treaty. In particular, each new project created by Inform is allocated a unique identification number called its IFID. The IFID is the equivalent for IF of the ISBN of a printed book. Inform copies it onto the "library card" for the benefit of Internet-based libraries which may eventually accession the work. Of course many projects start but never see the light of day, so many possible IFIDs are "wasted": but that hardly matters, as there are plenty more numbers in the world.

The important thing is that

The IFID number must be unique to this one work out of all the IF ever created

Inform will make sure this is true, unless we do something to break this ourselves. For instance, if we take an existing project, copy it as a file, then work divergently on the original and on the copy so that they become two radically different works, they will still each have the same ID. This is a bad thing: if we want to duplicate a project but then turn it into something new, the best way to do that is to create a new project, and to copy and paste the source from the old to the new.

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