[Tdwg-guid] "Publication Bank", LSIDs and the BHL

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Fri May 19 11:00:13 CEST 2006

I can't speak for the list, but my feeling would be that LSIDs are the  
way we are going for most things, partly because they have some  
attractive properties (e.g., explicit means to get metadata, cheap,  
decentralised, open source), partly because it's been developed within  
the bioinformatics community.

You mention "find", which is a whole different ball game from GUIDs.  
Again, the digital library community has tools (OAI harvesters, etc.),  
so I guess the issue for literature is do you adopt existing tools  
(e.g., think like a digital library), or buy into the bioinformatics  

Personally, so long as you have stable, easily resolvable GUIDs that  
can deliver metadata in a consistent way (preferably RDF), I'd be  
happy. From my warped perspective, it's the metadata that is the key,  
the GUID technology is less interesting. The metadata is the prize.

DOIs provide the kind of granularity you mention  
(http://www.crossref.org/02publishers/24upload_spec.html), and LSIDs  
could easily do this as well (you're just making identifiers after  

I suspect that one XML markup is more established, you'll support this  
granularity easily (Open Access journals will make this trivially easy,  
and it can be done for older material that;s marked up along the lines  
that Donat Agosti is doing for ants). So, this will happen. I don't see  
why this would be costly.

One thing which makes DOIs and Handles cumbersome is that each  
identifier has to be registered, so for a 1000 page monograph you  
register 1000 DOIs. For LSIDs you can do this programmatically -- if  
you are naughty and embed semantics. For example, and identifier like  
123-p23 (ignoring the administrivia before it) could be parsed by the  
server and interpreted as a request for page 23 from document 123. You  
do this on the fly, and if a page number is out of bounds you through  
an error.



On 19 May 2006, at 09:09, Neil Thomson wrote:

> Dear all,
> Many thanks for the useful feedback on the strawman paper. Chuck is  
> right in that there is a broader issue - is there a form of GUID that  
> will work for everything and is that essential?
> I was working on the assumptions that TDWG had already chosen LSIDs as  
> the favo(u)red flavo(u)r of GUID and that, yes, it makes sense to have  
> the same one in as many domains as possible. Hence my attempt to push  
> thinly-disguised LSIDs onto the BHL. However, if it is the case that  
> there is no requirement for the same GUID scheme to be adopted across  
> all domains, then the picture alters substantially and I would be more  
> likely to press for DOIs for the reasons stated by Rod.
> There is a BHL workshop coming up on June 12th and I would appreciate  
> any guidance on what I should be encouraging BHL to do so that we can  
> interoperate with the GBIF architecture and systems. I am also  
> involved with the EU-funded project EDIT (European Distributed  
> Institute of Taxonomy) who want a "virtual library" and I am keen that  
> there should be essentially one system for BHL, EDIT and GBIF to find  
> and retrieve published (and unpublished) literature and documentation.
> I have a further question about granularity. I have just seen a  
> demonstration by a major publisher of a system that separately indexes  
> and allows retrieval of all images, diagrams, tables, figures etc.  
> within journal articles. Naturally, this is very expensive and beyond  
> the means of BHL, but has gone down a storm with researchers on trial  
> and is an indicator of the future. Can LSIDs cope with that level of  
> detail?
> With thanks,
> Neil
> -------
> Neil Thomson
> Head of Data & Digital Systems
> The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
> Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5294,
> Fax: +44 (0)20 7942 5559,
> Email: n.thomson at nhm.ac.uk
> http://www.nhm.ac.uk
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Professor Roderic D. M. Page
Editor, Systematic Biology
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University of Glasgow
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