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

Donald Hobern dhobern at gbif.org
Wed Jun 6 15:46:39 CEST 2007


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)
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...?
> Regards
> Rod
> On 6 Jun 2007, at 14:13, Ricardo Pereira wrote:
>> Roderic Page wrote:
>>> Ricardo,
>>> I think your arguments pretty much apply to LSIDs as well. By  
>>> themselves, they don't play ball with the WWW or the Semantic Web.
>>> 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  
>> recommendations (http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/GUID/ 
>> LsidHttpProxyUsageRecommendation). 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 http://www.handle.net/ 
>>> proxy_servlet.html).
>> 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 purpose.
>>> 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 technologies).
>> 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  
>> future.
>> Cheers,
>> Ricardo
>> _______________________________________________
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>> tdwg-guid at lists.tdwg.org
>> http://lists.tdwg.org/mailman/listinfo/tdwg-guid
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
> ------------------------------------------
> Professor Roderic D. M. Page
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