[tdwg-tag] Blog: UUIDs may be Dangerous

"Markus Döring (GBIF)" mdoering at gbif.org
Fri Nov 21 15:39:24 CET 2008

It's funny that nearly all of us consider stable URLs as the best  
option by now, but we still decided to stay with LSIDs during TDWG.
The main argument for LSIDs during the TAG meeting was indeed a social  
one: they look more stable, especially in printed publications.
But I have to support Gregor in that initial trust in stable URLs is  
achieved by making the URL look stable. Finally it boils down to a  
management problem, no matter if we use LSIDs, PURLs or whatever other  

To get forward with this everlasting discussion:
Is there anyone left who would feel bad about moving to stable URLs?

And as a second question, should we have a central domain that  
registers services and redirects to the resolving service, so that  
people can move their service. Or do we trust the community to keep  
their URLs stable themselves?

And if we prefer a central service, should we just use DNS and assign  
subdomains for the individual services, e.g. http://rbgk13.tdwg.id/543-544-cfjf3f667 
  or assign paths within the URL to services, e.g. http://guid.tdwg.org/rbgk13/543-544-cfjf3f667 


On Nov 20, 2008, at 11:09 PM, Gregor Hagedorn wrote:

> Kevin writes
>> - ie they cannot be resolved using default HTTP resolution.  The  
>> idea of
>> using the http proxy version of the LSIDs is a good way to get  
>> around this,
>> but this does have some drawbacks:
>> -  1st you really need everyone to agree to use it everywhere,  
>> which is a
>> bit difficult considering it is not at all part of the LSID  
>> standard, and we
>> struggle to get "everyone" to do anything
>> - 2nd, it seems very much like a hack - you might as well just use  
>> permanent
>> http urls - ie the main advantage of LSIDs in this case is the  
>> "encouraging
>> a degree of thought before making URIs publically available".  But  
>> we don't
>> really need to pick up the whole LSID overhead just to achieve this.
> 3rd: the system is complicated and it is difficult to guarantee that
> the sequence of reciprocal references is correct and in the right
> order and place. I believe you would need special validator tools to
> find errors in the system.
> And, most relevantly, I believe it will exclude many from
> participation, because the complexity is a bit scary.
>> So it seems to me like good old Plain Old URLs are just great!   : -)
>> Or at least the suggestion of REST styled, permanent HTTP URLs as  
>> GUIDs ???
> I fully agree. I believe LSIDs never were meant to be a technical
> solution, but rather a technical wedge to hammer in to achieve social
> change. All the LSIDs really promise are different management
> practices.
> As argued in http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/GUID/CommunityPracticesForHttp-basedGUIDs
> I think it is sensible to agree on a community agreed mechanism to
> keep some URLs more stable than others. That could be URLs containing
> UUIDs, but I would argue for a social convention to agree on a
> recognizable string marking URLs that should be kept stable as long as
> possible and at least not re-assigned. There would be little harm to
> have a couple of such naming conventions, including e.g. non-english
> localizations, but one could be:
> x.y.net/stable-id/something/12317982
> Gregor
> -- 
> ---------------------------------
> Dr. Gregor Hagedorn
> Heinrich-Seidel-Str. 2
> 12167 Berlin
> skype: g.hagedorn
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