[tdwg-guid] Widening the system perspective?

Gregor Hagedorn G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE
Mon Jun 18 11:45:20 CEST 2007

Ricardo writes:

> Personally, I would hold on to pure LSIDs and avoid using the http 
> proxy as a GUID as much as possible, just to make sure my clients are 
> robust enough. However, the semantics of the proxy software and the RDF 
> returned when the identifier is resolved allow clients to assume the 
> http proxy is in fact a GUID.

My concern is that the choice of LSIDs is based on too narrow a system view. 
The true system includes biologists, public administrators, other experts, and 
many kinds on non-LSID-aware software.

Scenario 1: Taxonomist publishes a paper in printed or online journal. Do I use 
the LSID, knowing no other biologists can interpret this, or do I use the http-
GUID, which every biologist reading the paper can follow and retrieve some 
further information?

Scenario 2: I create a html-based web page for a species account. I could use 
the lsid as visible id, with the implications above. However, I would certainly 
like to support my users by linking to the resource and use the http as the 
link behind the text. From this moment on, for Google and all current other 
information indexers, the http-URL (which is always a GUID) will become the 
preferred ID under which this resource can be accessed.

What is the public usability of the GUID system that we plan?


The desired fall-back safety of Ricardo's scenario:

> <rdf:RDF>
>   <rdf:Description rdf:about="urn:lsid:ubio.org:namebank:11815">
>     <dc:identifier>urn:lsid:ubio.org:namebank:11815</dc:identifier>
>     <owl:sameAs 
> rdf:resource="http://lsid.tdwg.org/urn:lsid:ubio.org:namebank:11815" />
> ...

can easily be achieved without the overhead of LSIDs, by using:

<rdf:Description rdf:about="http://lsid.ubio.org/namebank/11815">

Several commentators have mentioned that http-GUIDs have a problem if the 
resource disappears. I believe this is only true with respect to resolving the 
GUID. The GUID functionality itself is unaffected if the DNS entry disappears. 
If ubio disappears, the GUID http://lsid.ubio.org/namebank/11815 can still be 
used for centuries. The service that resolves may already be published in RDF 
metadata (through SameAs), or it may be built into some systems.

*** Using something like "bio-id.org" (i.e. registering a new DNS, but running 
it through existing ifnrastructure (preferably GBIF) would improve future 
flexibility on who might pick it up, if something happens to tdwg or gbif. ***

Gregor Hagedorn (G.Hagedorn at bba.de)
Institute for Plant Virology, Microbiology, and Biosafety
Federal Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA)
Königin-Luise-Str. 19           Tel: +49-30-8304-2220
14195 Berlin, Germany           Fax: +49-30-8304-2203

More information about the tdwg-tag mailing list