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

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Thu May 18 22:24:17 CEST 2006

Are you sure we're grown ups?  I'm still working on that.  

I think things certainly can be simplified if we allow ourselves to accept some imperfections and focus on getting something done that works.

Seems to me there is a really broad point to consider.  Does the same GUID approach work for names, specimens and publications?  DOI doesn't work well for names.  But, LSID doesn't work well for publications.


-----Original Message-----
From: Roderic Page [mailto:r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk] 
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2006 1:09 PM
To: tdwg-guid at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Cc: Neil Thomson
Subject: Re: [Tdwg-guid] "Publication Bank", LSIDs and the BHL

Some quick, ill thought out thoughts:

The whole "semantically opaque" argument is probably overblown, in that  
it overlooks one advantage of semantic content -- it helps debugging.  
If an identifier breaks, it can help to have an identifier that is  
interpretable. Furthermore, pretty much any GUID in use on the web has  
loads of implicit semantic content, even DOIs. So unless we want GUIDs  
like A4DA1824-E695-11DA-9693-000D93425524, I suggest we let this red  
herring drop.

The semantically opaque argument seems to me to be a statement that we  
can't rely on any interpretation we may put on the identifier string.  
That's fine, but in practice if there are semantics they can be useful,  
so long as we're grown ups and realise it might break. There's an  
interesting discussion related to this at  

I'm puzzled that Handles weren't mentioned, simply because they are (a)  
free, and (b) already in use in digital library projects (e.g.,  
http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/). Indeed, much as I love LSIDs,  
and at the risk of opening a can of worms, if I were setting up a  
digital literature repository, LSIDs would be last on my list of GUIDs.  
I'd look seriously at DOIs (and talk to the DOI people about what it  
would actually cost, and figure out how come Germany can make this free  
for scientists -- http://www.std-doi.de/front_content.php), then look  
at handles (which some BHL members are already using), then LSIDs. My  
argument for using DOIs would be the added value from CrossRef -- you'd  
get immediate integration into electronic publishing (i.e., linkable  
references), and isn't that part of the goal...?

One complication about DOIs is whether there should be only one DOI for  
a publication, issued by the copyright holder/publisher. I don't mean  
one can't have DOIs for parts, just that are there issues if, say,  
Springer has a DOI for a publication and so does BHL (or anybody else).

Lastly, IMHO any GUID that is not resolvable now is a waste of time, so  
I see no value in an identifier like urn:bhl:...



On 18 May 2006, at 15:56, Donald Hobern wrote:

> After my post yesterday, Neil Thomson forwarded me this paper he has  
> prepared for the Biodiversity Heritage Library on their need for  
> GUIDs.  His document ends by explaining how BHL identifiers could end  
> up looking "a bit like an LSID".  Obviously I would recommend that  
> they should actually just be LSIDs, but Neil is interested in any  
> feedback on this paper and it clearly relates very much to all that we  
> discussed under the general heading of "Publication Bank".
>  Thanks,
>  Donald
> -- 
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Donald Hobern (dhobern at gbif.org)
> Programme Officer for Data Access and Database Interoperability
> Global Biodiversity Information Facility Secretariat
> Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
> Tel: +45-35321483   Mobile: +45-28751483   Fax: +45-35321480
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> <GUIDs-BHL-2-1.doc>_______________________________________________
> TDWG-GUID mailing list
> TDWG-GUID at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/tdwg-guid
Professor Roderic D. M. Page
Editor, Systematic Biology
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QP
United Kingdom

Phone:    +44 141 330 4778
Fax:      +44 141 330 2792
email:    r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
web:      http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html
reprints: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/pubs.html

Subscribe to Systematic Biology through the Society of Systematic
Biologists Website:  http://systematicbiology.org
Search for taxon names: http://darwin.zoology.gla.ac.uk/~rpage/portal/
Find out what we know about a species: http://ispecies.org
Rod's rants on phyloinformatics: http://iphylo.blogspot.com

TDWG-GUID mailing list
TDWG-GUID at mailman.nhm.ku.edu

More information about the tdwg-tag mailing list