[tdwg-guid] Handle System considered not interoperable with standard WWW and SW applications
ricardo at tdwg.org
Wed Jun 6 14:21:11 CEST 2007
First I wanted to say that I second what Jason, Kevin, and Rich have
said earlier in this thread. The issues we are discussing here are
mainly about metadata modeling and they are relatively independent of our
choice of identifying scheme. If we comply to the LSID HTTP proxy
recommendations we proposed, then LSID and HTTP URLs would be almost
equivalent. I say almost equivalent because of the arguments Donald put
forward in his last message.
I don't believe that the Handle system would be a suitable
identifying scheme for our community, however. That is simply because
the Handle System has its own proprietary system for performing content
negotiation that is completely incompatible with the standard WWW and
Semantic Web applications.
In the Handle system, each handle has a set of values assigned to
it. These values may be different representations of a digital resource,
such as an HTML page or an RDF metadata record, or even a PDF file. Or
can be any other types that a community agree upon. Each value is
accessed by an index and a type. In our case types may be mapped to
mime-types, but this mapping is only recognized by clients that are
aware of the handle protocol. See section 3.1 of the informational RFC
3651 (http://www.handle.net/rfc/rfc3651.html) for more information about
"content negotiation" in the Handle System.
The trouble is that this proprietary scheme is a brick wall for
standard WWW and Semantic Web applications. These applications have no
way of getting to the right object representation using standard content
negotiation and thus the scheme can't be used to represent digital or
real objects effectively. In fact, these applications won't know how to
ask for different object representations and will then get whatever is
defined as the default representation, which can be different for
distinct handles. In some cases it can be a PDF, in other cases it
can be an HTML page asking for payment to see the full article,
and so on.
For that reason alone the Handle System is not a feasible
identifying scheme for our community. Again, only LSID (with the HTTP
Proxy recommendations) and HTTP URLs present content negotiation
mechanisms that are interoperable with standard WWW and SW applications.
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