[tdwg-guid] Handle System considered not interoperable withstandard WWW and SW applications

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Wed Jun 6 17:03:34 CEST 2007


I agree with you that the most important thing right now is getting
something working and stop debating.  Perfection being the enemy of the
good and all that.  There are new projects in the works that will be
forced to go their own way if TDWG doesn't choose a standard, if they
have not already. The worst thing of all would be to wind up with no
interoperability because we couldn't stop debating.


If LSID is to continue to be the path forward and it is accepted as a
standard by the TDWG acceptance process, then I am back to my original


We need a clear, specific, unambiguous, usable definition of what an
LSID is - that is, data, metadata, data+metadata, etc.  Perhaps we could
make "The Bratislava Declaration" or something that would be a decision,
in writing and could be referred to anytime the "LSID isn't" debate
starts up again.




Chuck Miller


Missouri Botanical Garden

St. Louis, MO, USA  



From: tdwg-guid-bounces at lists.tdwg.org
[mailto:tdwg-guid-bounces at lists.tdwg.org] On Behalf Of Donald Hobern
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 8:47 AM
To: Roderic Page
Cc: tdwg-guid at lists.tdwg.org
Subject: Re: [tdwg-guid] Handle System considered not interoperable
withstandard WWW and SW applications




I know we disagree on this one, and I certainly don't want to force the
issue against everyone else's better judgment but I think the critical
issue is that we need to get moving with trying something seriously and
for real.  Switching technology later should not be too painful once we
get the basic principles right (and the basic principles are the same
quite independent of technology).


Some quick points.


1. In answer to your latest question, the (non-technical, more social)
issues I mentioned in my previous message are the key reasons I would
give for choosing something other than HTTP URIs.  We are dealing with a
wider community than just IT professionals and need to make a clear
separation between assigning an identifier and putting up a web page.

2. LSIDs occupy a space (in my thinking) somewhere between the open,
easy, hard-to-control world of HTTP URIs, and the potentially
over-centralised administratively heavy world of Handles and DOIs.

3. If we go with LSIDs and subsequently decide we should just use HTTP
URIs, we can do so immediately and easily using a proxy like the one
TDWG has set up.

4. If we go with HTTP URIs and subsequently decide we should use
something like LSIDs, it is likely to be significantly harder to clean
up the mess.


Right now we are in a position where a good number of projects has
converged on giving LSIDs a serious try.  I honestly believe we should
build on this and start learning how to use GUIDs in the real world.  We
can all debate options forever (and go around in circles: "LSIDs are
better than URIs because..." - "Handles are better than LSIDs
because..." - "URIs are better than Handles because..."), but we must
get down to providing some working solutions.


Thanks as ever,




Donald Hobern (dhobern at gbif.org <mailto:dhobern at gbif.org> )

Deputy Director for Informatics 

Global Biodiversity Information Facility Secretariat 

Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Tel: +45-35321483   Mobile: +45-28751483   Fax: +45-35321480



On Jun 6, 2007, at 3:22 PM, Roderic Page wrote:

This all begs the question, is there anything LSIDs give us that HTTP
URIs don't?


If we go to all this trouble to make LSIDs behave as if they were HTTP
URIs, isn't this tell us something...?







On 6 Jun 2007, at 14:13, Ricardo Pereira wrote:


	Roderic Page wrote:



		I think your arguments pretty much apply to LSIDs as
well. By themselves, they don't play ball with the WWW or the Semantic


		For LSIDs we need a proxy that understands SOAP, can
talk to the DNS, read WSDL files, and then do an HTTP look-up. You only
get LSIDs to play ball by using a proxy that plays ball.

	I agree. That's why we are putting forward the LSID HTTP proxy
on). And there will be at least one LSID proxy (that at
http://lsid.tdwg.org/) that will play ball pretty soon. That proxy all
that you said, just doesn't perform the content-negotiation bit yet. But
I'm currently working on that.


		In principle we can do the same sort of thing for
Handles (there is code for a proxy servlet at

	Only if handle types fully matched the standard WWW content
types. They could match if we defined handle types for our own
community, but they won't ever match with the types defined by other
communities like DOI and others using Handles.


	On the other hand, LSID spec allows us to implement standard
content negotiation seamlessly because the semantics of the argument
*accepted_formats* in the LSID getMetadata call is appropriate for that


		I'm not necessarily defending Handles, but I think our
choice needs to be well-informed. I still don't think the case for LSIDs
has really been made (or, at least, some of the arguments advanced in
favour of LSIDs apply equally well, if not better, to other

	I agree with you on this. The case for LSIDs wasn't strong
enough because the original proposal doesn't integrate well with HTTP.
That is exactly why we are putting forward the LSID HTTP proxy proposal.
It was the missing point in the LSID case.


	In any case, I suppose we will talk more about this in the near






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Professor Roderic D. M. Page

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