What do we mean by GUID?

Patricia Mergen p_mergen at YAHOO.COM
Wed Oct 12 08:48:54 CEST 2005

I agree with Chuck that we should clarify the issues
he is pointing to in his statement here under.

My first mail was also intended to address more
generally the point of identifying versus localizing
not neccessarly specifically related to the ARK,LSID
or DOI initiatives.

--- Chuck Miller <Chuck.Miller at MOBOT.ORG> wrote:

> I have been pondering this question of what exactly
> is meant by a GUID since
> Donald's first call for input.
> First, is it correct that GUID stands for Globally
> Unique Identifier?
> Second,
> What do we mean by Globally?
> What do we mean by Unique?
> What do we mean by Identifier?  Or, specifically
> what are we identifying?
> I believe we are far from consensus on all three of
> those definitions, even
> the meaning of globally.  And, I believe we will be
> going around in circles
> on LSIDs, ARNs, and such until we get the
> expectation more clearly defined.
> What I hear in most of the discussions so far are
> descriptions of a GLID -
> Globally Locatable IDentifier.  In the Internet
> world, GLIDs started with
> the URL - Universal Resource Locator which has
> evolved to the URI -
> Universal Resource Identifier concept.  Another form
> of URI is the URN -
> Uniform Resource Name which enables a persistent
> name, independent of server
> location.  This is the kind of thing I think we want
> and are discussing in
> this GUID thread.
> I think we should draw a distinction between GUID
> and GLID.
> An identifier of a thing can be globally unique
> without stating its
> location.  But, again, it raises the question of
> what the definition of
> unique is.  An ISBN number identifies a book
> "uniquely", but there may be
> millions of "unique" copies of it.  Similarly,
> duplicate sheets of a
> collected plant specimen are all from the same
> "unique" organism and may
> each even be referred to by the same "unique"
> collector and number. But,
> each sheet itself is also unique.  We need a clear
> definition.
> An identifier of a place can also be globally
> unique, like a URL.  But,
> being able to go to that place requires a global
> infrastructure to handle
> the addressing.
> Where it gets really messy is when we want an
> identifier of a thing that is
> unique but can move around to different places, like
> a URN.  The addressing
> has to work like an administrative assistant who
> keeps tabs on where the
> staff is currently located so she can direct phone
> calls to them.  Without
> the administrative assistant, people who move around
> can't be contacted. It
> looks like a lot of what LSID, ARN, and such seem to
> about is
> "administrative assistant" addressing schemes, how
> to navigate to the entity
> through layers of address abstraction.  But, in each
> case it raises the
> issue of who/where is the administrative assistant,
> on top of the question
> of the addressing scheme itself.
> Shouldn't we get these definitions and expectations
> nailed down first?  Then
> look at solutions?
> Chuck Miller
> Chief Information Officer
> Missouri Botanical Garden
> 4344 Shaw Boulevard
> Saint Louis, Missouri 63119
> Phone: 1-314-577-9419
> Cell: 1-314-614-6952

Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005

More information about the tdwg-tag mailing list