[tdwg-guid] First step in implementing LSIDs
r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Wed Jun 6 09:43:01 CEST 2007
> We still need to decide WHAT a URI references - is it the metadata,
> the physical object etc?
Physical things get URIs (that means you, me, specimens, etc.). If
they don't, it's rather hard to talk about them. Documents (images,
PDFs, sound files, text, etc.) also get URIs. The "Cool URIs for the
Semantic Web" paper is essentially about this. There are solutions to
handling this issue (e.g., the 303 redirect).
This is one reason why I think LSIDs have obscured this issue. People
have been arguing about whether an LSID serves metadata or data,
which to my mind is a totally different question from whether the
LSID represents a physical object or concept, or a digital record.
> URIs don't explicitly require persistance, while LSIDs do so I see
> that as a positive for adopting a standard GUID that is explicit in
> that regard.
But we kid ourselves if we think that adopting LSIDs will magically
give us persistent identfiiers. Persistence is a social act (somebody
makes a commitment to serve them for "a long time"). If I were to
make an equivalent of "The Big Dig" for LSID providers (http://
bigdig.ecoforge.net/), I bet you there will be more than a few "sad
Even the DOIs break. The difference? There's somebody to complain to
when they do. I complain about broken DOIs about once a month, and
usually I get a human response and the problem is resolved. DOIs (and
Handles underlying them) have tools to facilitate management, which
is part of persistence.
> I think the TDWG effort to spec an HTTP proxy for LSIDs makes it
> clear that the technical hurdles of implementing an LSID resolver
> (SVR records, new protocol, client limitations etc) are a bit
> cumbersome, but I don't think the underlying concept is fatally flawed
But the question is "why put ourselves through these hurdles?" What
do we gain? Do we aid persistence? By adding further complexity, I
don't think so? Do we get to play ball with other semantic web-style
initiatives, um, no, we make it harder.
On 5 Jun 2007, at 21:39, Jason Best wrote:
> I've only had a chance to quickly skim the documents you reference,
> but it seems to me that the alternatives to LSIDs don't necessarily
> make the issues with which we are wrestling go away. We still need
> to decide WHAT a URI references - is it the metadata, the physical
> object etc? URIs don't explicitly require persistance, while LSIDs
> do so I see that as a positive for adopting a standard GUID that is
> explicit in that regard. I think the TDWG effort to spec an HTTP
> proxy for LSIDs makes it clear that the technical hurdles of
> implementing an LSID resolver (SVR records, new protocol, client
> limitations etc) are a bit cumbersome, but I don't think the
> underlying concept is fatally flawed. In reading these discussions,
> I'm starting to believe/understand that RDF may hold the key,
> regardless of the GUID that is implemented. Now I have to go read
> up more on RDF to see if my new-found belief has merit! ;)
> From: Roderic Page [mailto:r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk]
> Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 2:10 PM
> To: Chuck Miller
> Cc: Bob Morris; Kevin Richards; tdwg-guid at lists.tdwg.org;
> WEITZMAN at si.edu; Jason Best
> Subject: Re: [tdwg-guid] First step in implementing LSIDs?[Scanned]
> Maybe it's time to bite the bullet and consider the elephant in the
> room -- LSIDs might not be what we want. Markus Döring sent some
> nice references to the list in April, which I've repeated below,
> there is also http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MIS.2006.62 .
> I think the LSID debate is throwing up issues which have been
> addressed elsewhere (e.g., identifiers for physical things versus
> digital records), and some would argue have been solved to at least
> some people's satisfaction.
> LSIDs got us thinking about RDF, which is great. But otherwise I
> think they are making things more complicated than they need to be.
> I think this community is running a grave risk of committing to a
> technology that nobody else takes that seriously (hell, even the
> http://lsid.sourceforge.net/ web site is broken).
> The references posted by Markus Döring were:
> (1) http://www.dfki.uni-kl.de/dfkidok/publications/TM/07/01/
> "Cool URIs for the Semantic Web" by Leo Sauermann DFKI GmbH,
> Richard Cyganiak Freie Universität Berlin (D2R author), Max Völkel
> FZI Karlsruhe
> The authors of this document come from the semantic web community
> and discuss what kind of URIs should be used for RDF resources.
> (2) http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/URNsAndRegistries-50
> This one here is written by the W3C and addresses the questions
> "When should URNs or URIs with novel URI schemes be used to name
> information resources for the Web?" The answers given are "Rarely
> if ever" and "Probably not". Common arguments in favor of such
> novel naming schemas are examined, and their properties compared
> with those of the existing http: URI scheme.
Professor Roderic D. M. Page
Editor, Systematic Biology
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Fax: +44 141 330 2792
email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
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