RDF/architecture/ontology - migration

Matt Jones jones at NCEAS.UCSB.EDU
Mon Nov 21 12:31:07 CET 2005


I believe that the resolution protocol needs to be established or the
identifier scheme will not persist.  In the SGML days, many people
promulgated the use of Formal Public Identifiers (FPI), which can still
be seen in use in the DOCTYPE declaration of HTML documents and the
like.  FPIs defined a syntax for the identifier, but did not specify a
resolution mechanism.  Rather it left resolution loose so that the
identifiers would not become stale.   Eventually a catalog system for
resolution evolved that was in fairly common use (and was popularized
with XCatalog), but I think FPIs ultimately have not worked out
precisely because the resolution mechanism was not mandated in the

One of the reasons I like LSIDs is that the specification both leaves
the resolution mechanism open, saying that several protocols might be
used and it might evolve, while at the same time fixing the current
resolution protocol to use DNS as its base for finding a resolver.
Using SRV records still permits the indirection that is needed for the
indetifiers to persist indefinitely.  Providing a concrete resolution
protocol based on open internet standards allows an interoperable system
to quickly materialize. And allowing for future additions and changes to
the resolution protocol lends some degree of future-proofing the
identifiers.  All in all I think it is a reasonable balance where there
are several conflicting requirements.


Chuck Miller wrote:
> Do we want GUIDs that are dependent upon a specific protocol or schema?
> Seems like the ideal would be an approach that disconnects them so that
> the decisions for GUIDs and for protocols and schemas can be made
> separately.
>  From what I've been hearing so far the GUID is embedded inside of
> something else, like LSID or DOI.  That is, the unique identifier part
> is wrapped inside something that is understandable only by a specific
> protocol or locating mechanism.  Is this unavoidable?
> Chuck
> Chuck Miller
> Chief Information Officer
> Missouri Botanical Garden
> 4344 Shaw Blvd
> St. Louis, MO 63119
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roger Hyam [mailto:roger at TDWG.ORG]
> Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 4:40 AM
> Subject: [TDWG-GUID] RDF/architecture/ontology - migration
> This is carrying on from Steve's comments under the "Taxon debate
> synthesis?" thread. I started a new thread as it seemed to be getting a
> little deep and no longer fitting the title.
> Steve's comments are hitting the nail right on the head. From the
> conversations and thoughts I am having about architecture of TDWG
> standards all roads are leading to RDF - which is annoying because it
> makes writing balanced documents that compare the alternatives difficult :)
> Steve outlined one of the most promising  paths forward for TDWG
> standards. Taking this route is not a matter of just saying "lets do it
> all in RDF" there would be a long way to go if we went this way - but at
> least we would be doing things the same way the rest of the semantic web
> world and that means there are tools and people out there to help.
> The one point Steve didn't stress is that RDF is the "bees knees" for
> data handshaking - i.e. combining data from different domains. This
> means that the extensibility and version problems that are our main
> hurdles as the moment will tend to go away. But have no fear there will
> be other problems to replace them.
> I am comfortable talking about GUIDs in terms of moving towards
> representing TDWG data in RDF. It certainly makes more sense of the GUID
> discussions to me. But...
> What we need to bear in mind is that there is a great deal of knowledge
> captured in  XML Schema within the TDWG community and that knowledge (or
> at least the good bits of it) need to be migrated forwards. People have
> also invested a great deal of effort in developing XML Schemas and may
> be reluctant to move on.
> This is all leading to TAG stuff rather than GUID stuff but as Steve and
> Rod and others point out the two are very closely connected - along with
> the protocol stuff...
> How much should the GUID debate assume that we are using current XML
> Schema based standards and how much should it assume a move to an RDF
> style approach - or doesn't it matter?
> Roger
> --
> -------------------------------------
>  Roger Hyam
>  Technical Architect
>  Taxonomic Databases Working Group
> -------------------------------------
>  http://www.tdwg.org
>  roger at tdwg.org
>  +44 1578 722782
> -------------------------------------

Matt Jones
jones at nceas.ucsb.edu
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)
UC Santa Barbara     http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/ecoinformatics

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