[tdwg-guid] First step in implementing LSIDs

Matthew Jones jones at nceas.ucsb.edu
Wed Jun 6 19:20:17 CEST 2007

And I too agree with this assessment -- the discussions have focused on 
the metadata model and what is being identified, not on the identifier 
syntax or technology.  What an identifier represents is an orthogonal 
issue to how the id is formatted and resolved.

At this point I think LSIDs still represent an excellent syntax for us 
to try for all of the old reasons that came up at the GUID workshops -- 
they are location independent, they have a well-established resolution 
protocol that can be extended as technology changes, they use a 
URI-compliant syntax, and they are free to mint. Because they are 
specifically identifiers, they don't have all of the difficulties 
associated with some of the other proposals that conflate identity with 
location.  For example, the proposal to use overloaded http URLs would 
require us to agree on how to recognize an overloaded http URL -- which 
seems to boil down to a centralized redirection service, which makes it 
a non-starter for us.  Maybe a centralized resolver would work for TDWG 
core projects, but we're working with a wide variety of biodiversity and 
abiotic data, and TDWG would not be the appropriate central group for 
much of the abiotic data.  For example, I would be surprised if the 
hydrology community and climate change community really wanted to share 
a central redirection service with the biodiversity community based at 
TDWG.  Something that allows independence but maintains interoperability 
among those communities would be more palatable.


Matthew B. Jones
Director of Informatics Research and Development
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)
UC Santa Barbara
jones at nceas.ucsb.edu                Ph: 541-888-2581 ext. 287

Kevin Richards wrote:
> I agree with Jason.  It is not the GUID that is the cause of all the problems here - THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH LSIDS - we just need to move on and start using them in our own context  (or any other suitable GUID - LSIDs are only the recommended GUID, NOT the only premissable GUID).
> If it all falls to pieces later on we could just do a search and replace to change all our GUIDs to some other scheme (to quote Bob, just serious).
> I agree, it is the RDF/metadata/ontologies that are the key to getting things working well.
> Kevin
>>>> "Jason Best" <jbest at brit.org> 06/06/07 8:39 AM >>>
> Rod,
> I've only had a chance to quickly skim the documents you reference, but it seems to me that the alternatives to LSIDs don't necessarily make the issues with which we are wrestling go away. We still need to decide WHAT a URI references - is it the metadata, the physical object etc? URIs don't explicitly require persistance, while LSIDs do so I see that as a positive for adopting a standard GUID that is explicit in that regard. I think the TDWG effort to spec an HTTP proxy for LSIDs makes it clear that the technical hurdles of implementing an LSID resolver (SVR records, new protocol, client limitations etc) are a bit cumbersome, but I don't think the underlying concept is fatally flawed. In reading these discussions, I'm starting to believe/understand that RDF may hold the key, regardless of the GUID that is implemented. Now I have to go read up more on RDF to see if my new-found belief has merit! ;)
> Jason
> ________________________________
> From: Roderic Page [mailto:r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk] 
> Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 2:10 PM
> To: Chuck Miller
> Cc: Bob Morris; Kevin Richards; tdwg-guid at lists.tdwg.org; WEITZMAN at si.edu; Jason Best
> Subject: Re: [tdwg-guid] First step in implementing LSIDs?[Scanned]
> Maybe it's time to bite the bullet and consider the elephant in the room -- LSIDs might not be what we want. Markus Döring sent some nice references to the list in April, which I've repeated below, there is also http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MIS.2006.62 . 
> I think the LSID debate is throwing up issues which have been addressed elsewhere (e.g., identifiers for physical things versus digital records), and some would argue have been solved to at least some people's satisfaction.
> LSIDs got us thinking about RDF, which is great. But otherwise I think they are making things more complicated than they need to be. I think this community is running a grave risk of committing to a technology that nobody else takes that seriously (hell, even the http://lsid.sourceforge.net/ web site is broken).
> The references posted by Markus Döring  were:
> (1) http://www.dfki.uni-kl.de/dfkidok/publications/TM/07/01/tm-07-01.pdf
> "Cool URIs for the Semantic Web" by Leo Sauermann DFKI GmbH, Richard Cyganiak Freie Universität Berlin (D2R author), Max Völkel FZI Karlsruhe
> The authors of this document come from the semantic web community and discuss what kind of URIs should be used for RDF resources.
> (2) http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/URNsAndRegistries-50
> This one here is written by the W3C and addresses the questions "When should URNs or URIs with novel URI schemes be used to name information resources for the Web?" The answers given are "Rarely if ever" and "Probably not". Common arguments in favor of such novel naming schemas are examined, and their properties compared with those of the existing http: URI scheme.
> Regards
> Rod
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