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

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Wed Jun 6 14:47:12 CEST 2007


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.

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).

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).

On this subject, we are not alone in trying to figure this out, see  
http://bioguid.blogspot.com/2007/06/banff-manifesto.html for some  



On 6 Jun 2007, at 13:21, Ricardo Pereira wrote:

>    Hi all,
>    First I wanted to say that I second what Jason, Kevin, and Rich  
> have said earlier in this thread. The issues we are discussing here  
> are mainly about metadata modeling and it are relatively independent  
> of our choice of identifying scheme. If we comply to the LSID HTTP  
> proxy recommendations we proposed, then LSID and HTTP URLs would be  
> almost equivalent. I say almost equivalent because of the arguments  
> Donald put forward in his last message.
>    I don't believe that the Handle system would be a suitable  
> identifying scheme for our community, however. That is simply because  
> the Handle System has its own proprietary system for performing  
> content negotiation that is completely incompatible with the standard  
> WWW and Semantic Web applications.
>    In the Handle system, each handle has a set of values assigned to  
> it. These values may be different representations of a digital  
> resource, such as an HTML page or an RDF metadata record, or even a  
> PDF file. Or can be any other types that a community agree upon. Each  
> value is accessed by an index and a type. In our case types may be  
> mapped to mime-types, but this mapping is only recognized by clients  
> that are aware of the handle protocol. See section 3.1 of the  
> informational RFC 3651 (http://www.handle.net/rfc/rfc3651.html) for  
> more information about "content negotiation" in the Handle System.
>    The trouble is that this proprietary scheme is a brick wall for  
> standard WWW and Semantic Web applications. These applications have  
> now way of getting to the right object representation using standard  
> content negotiation and thus the scheme can't be used to represent  
> digital or real objects effectively. In fact, these applications won't  
> know how to ask for different object representations and will then get  
> whatever is defined as the default representation, which can be  
> different for distinct handles. In some cases it can be a PDF, others  
> it can be and HTML page asking for payment to see the full article,  
> and so on.
>    For that reason alone the Handle System is not a feasible  
> identifying scheme for our community. Again, only LSID (with the HTTP  
> Proxy recommendations) and HTTP URLs present content negotiation  
> mechanisms that are interoperable with standard WWW and SW  
> applications.
>    Regards,
> Ricardo
> _______________________________________________
> tdwg-guid mailing list
> tdwg-guid at lists.tdwg.org
> http://lists.tdwg.org/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
iChat:    aim://rodpage1962
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
Rod's rants on ants: http://semant.blogspot.com

More information about the tdwg-tag mailing list