[tdwg-guid] First step in implementing LSIDs

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Wed Jun 6 09:46:34 CEST 2007

On 6 Jun 2007, at 08:21, Dave Vieglais wrote:

> However, regardless of the scheme used to implement the GUIDs used  
> by this community, it is critical that the identifiers are  
> persistent and useful beyond the lives of whatever services are  
> constructed to resolve them.  This implies some provenance  
> information may need to be captured, and I would argue that the use  
> of DNS alone for handling server changes as utilized by LSIDs may  
> be insufficient.  The only benefit provided by DNS in this context  
> is that it is acting as a single source of authority for directing  
> how to locate something (in this case an ip address).  What I  
> suspect is really required is a more robust, and richer mechanism  
> for discovering and recording provenance.  The ideal would be a  
> large, replicated, and distributed data store with a single service  
> point which provided people and systems with a one-stop shop for  
> discovering provenance for a GUID.  Then if an particular GUID  
> could not be directly resolved, the global provenance store could  
> be consulted and the resulting information providing a pointer (or  
> perhaps a series of pointers) indicating how the guid can now be  
> resolved.
> By creating such provenance records and persisting them with as  
> much care as the data, it seems that a system with stability beyond  
> the vagaries of the internet could reasonably be constructed.

To quote from http://www.handle.net:

"The Handle System® is a general purpose distributed information  
system that provides efficient, extensible, and secure HDL identifier  
and resolution services for use on networks such as the Internet. It  
includes an open set of protocols, a namespace, and a reference  
implementation of the protocols. The protocols enable a distributed  
computer system to store identifiers, known as handles, of arbitrary  
resources and resolve those handles into the information necessary to  
locate, access, contact, authenticate, or otherwise make use of the  
resources. This information can be changed as needed to reflect the  
current state of the identified resource without changing its  
identifier, thus allowing the name of the item to persist over  
changes of location and other related state information."

Sounds like what Dave is describing is pretty much the Handle system ...



> On Jun 6, 2007, at 00:46, Donald Hobern wrote:
>> Yesterday was a vacation here in Denmark - otherwise I'd have  
>> responded a little earlier, but I'm glad to see all the comments  
>> from others.  I thoroughly agree with Kevin, Jason, Rich and  
>> Anna.  No one here believes that any particular solution is going  
>> to be perfect.  Our biggest need is consensus and the readiness to  
>> get going with a workable solution.
>> I do recognise the strength of Rod's arguments.  Indeed, if I were  
>> building some system for integrating data using semantic web  
>> technologies, and my only concern was ensuring the efficiency of  
>> synchronous connections now, I am sure I would adopt HTTP URIs for  
>> the purpose.  However I remain convinced (as I've stated before)  
>> that the needs of this community do subtly shift the balance in  
>> another direction.  We are interested in maintaining long-term  
>> connections between our objects and have a perspective which goes  
>> back hundreds of years.  This at least should give us pause over  
>> whether we want our specimens to be referenced using identifiers  
>> so firmly tied to the Internet of today.  More importantly, one of  
>> the key drivers right at the beginning of TDWG's consideration of  
>> GUIDs was that the community had plenty of experience of URL rot  
>> and didn't want to rely on everyone maintaining stable virtual  
>> directories on their web servers to preserve the integrity of  
>> object identifiers.
>> Both LSIDs and HTTP URIs could be made to work for us.  Both are  
>> totally reliant on good practice on the part of data owners.   
>> Personally I believe our chances of getting the community to  
>> consider, define and apply such practices are enhanced by the  
>> identifier technology being something a little more different and  
>> distinct than just a "special URL".
>> Thanks,
>> Donald
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> 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 12:51 AM, 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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Professor Roderic D. M. Page
Editor, Systematic Biology
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Glasgow G12 8QP
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