[tdwg-tag] LSID HTTP Proxy - design question

Roger Hyam rogerhyam at mac.com
Wed Apr 22 14:25:54 CEST 2009

I have gone Semantic Web fundamentalist and so any proxy must pass the  
Linked Data validator that Rod so kindly pointed out.


If it does this then the proxied LSIDs can be used in Jena and other  
SW frameworks seamlessly.

Ideally there should be some simple content negotiation to return a  
nice web page for humans and RDF for machines.

I don't think a proxy has to service any LSID anyone throws at it.  
 From my point of view the proxy is there to make LSIDs behave as if  
they were good semantic web URIs. The proxy_string + LSID is a URI to  
a resource that can be reasoned about. It is therefore best to always  
use the same proxy for any one LSID. This is what I try to do with  
BCI. The proxied LSID is effectively another identifier in another  
technology domain just joined by an owl:sameAs.

It should be possible to just write an Apache rewrite rule to turn the  
LSID into a a 303 redirect to the URL used for the RDF by the LSID  
Authority. The linked data stuff is just soooo simple. I love it.  
Praise Lord TBL.

All the best,


On 21 Apr 2009, at 23:01, Kevin Richards wrote:

> Nicky
> I have set up a proxy for our Landcare LSIDs and it is just a plain  
> redirect (ie treating the LSID as a string).
> This was probably mainly because I was experimenting and not  
> implementing a "robust" system.  However I don't really see anything  
> wrong with treating the LSID as a string in this case - other parts  
> of DNS and resolution treat various "components" of the resolution  
> process as strings, without assuming any specific protocol etc.
> As Rod pointed out though, if you use full LSID resolution on the  
> proxied LSID, then you will be able to resolve any LSID that is  
> passed to the IPNI resolver.  I'm not sure this is a good thing  
> though??  ie
> should http://zoobank.org:80/?lsid=urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:20012728-1:1.1 
>  return metadata or an error?  the proxied URI http://zoobank.org:80/?lsid=urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:20012728-1:1.1 
>  is NOT the sameAs the LSID urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:20012728-1:1.1,  
> so it probably should return an error??  But this sounds counter- 
> productive to me...
> I'd say go with whatever is easiest for now.
> Kevin
> -----Original Message-----
> From: tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org [mailto:tdwg-tag-bounces at lists.tdwg.org 
> ] On Behalf Of Nicola Nicolson
> Sent: Wednesday, 22 April 2009 4:41 a.m.
> To: tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org
> Subject: [tdwg-tag] LSID HTTP Proxy - design question
> Hi,
> I've been looking into setting up an HTTP proxy for the ipni.org  
> LSIDs. I've read the usage recommendations at http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/GUID/LsidHttpProxyUsageRecommendation 
>  but want to ask a question re the design of the proxy itself, ie:
> Should an HTTP proxy for LSIDs behave as:
> (1) a webapp that acts as an LSID "client"
> or
> (2) a mechanism to issue redirects to the metadata address as  
> specified in the LSID authority WSDL
> The latter is simple - I can just set up a mod_rewrite rule so that
> http://lsid.ipni.org/[lsid] is redirected to the HTTP URL for the  
> metadata for the specified LSID. This will of course only work for  
> LSIDs for which ipni.org is the authority, but I think that is OK.
> If the former, I'll need to encode the resolution process: ie parse  
> the LSID, extract the authority, do the DNS lookup, get the WSDL,  
> construct the address etc, BUT it will mean that the HTTP LSID proxy  
> is dependent upon correct functioning of the LSID infrastructure  
> (DNS SRV records, authority WSDL etc). I guess the TDWG LSID proxy  
> behaves this way, but that is to be expected as it can be used as an  
> HTTP proxy for *any* LSID.
> In summary option (1) treats the proxied LSID as *an LSID*, the  
> other really just treats it as a character string.
> Which is preferred?
> cheers,
> Nicky
> - Nicola Nicolson
> - Science Applications Development,
> - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew,
> - Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, UK
> - email: n.nicolson at rbgkew.org.uk
> - phone: 020-8332-5766
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Roger Hyam
Roger at BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, UK
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