Overview#Web Linking (RFC 5988) defines A means of indicating the relationships between resources on the Web, as well as indicating the type of those relationships, has been available for some time in HTML W3C.REC-html401-19991224, and more recently in Atom RFC 4287. These mechanisms, although conceptually similar, are separately specified. However, links between resources need not be format specific; it can be useful to have typed links that are independent of their serialisation, especially when a resource has representations in multiple formats.
To this end, RFC 5988 defines a framework for typed links that isn't specific to a particular serialisation or application. RFC 5988 does so by redefining the link relation registry established by Atom to have a broader domain, and adding to it the relations that are defined by HTML.
Furthermore, an HTTP Header Field for conveying typed links was defined in Section 22.214.171.124 of RFC 2068, but removed from RFC 2616, due to a lack of implementation experience. Since then, it has been implemented in some User-agents (e.g., for stylesheets), and several additional use cases have surfaced.
Because it was removed, the status of the Link header is unclear, leading some to consider minting new application-specific HTTP headers instead of reusing it. RFC 5988 addresses this by re-specifying the Link header as one such serialisation, with updated but backwards-compatible syntax.