[tdwg-tag] SourceForge LSID project websites broken - role for TDWG?

Bob Morris morris.bob at gmail.com
Tue Apr 7 18:03:35 CEST 2009

A few non random comments on Rod's random comments on Donald's proposal

On Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 11:19 AM, Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
> A few random comments:
> Donald wrote:
>> InstitutionCode/CollectionCode/CatalogueNumber triple and to the
>> three main substitutable elements in an LSID.  Some systems such as
>> DOI may obscure the whoGeneratedTheData
Rod responded:
> This assumes that it's good to have lots of metadata embedded in the
> identifier. This level of "branding" might be fine for specimens
> (assuming each data provider has the ability to serve their own data),
> but what about shared identifiers such as taxon names -- I suspect
> having to "choose a brand" is going to be an obstacle to adoption for
> just the identifiers that we most need to share. Identifiers such as
> DOIs have less branding (although publishers have managed to attach
> branding significant to the few digits after the "10." prefix).

Bob cites:
"LSIDs are intended to be semantically opaque, in that the LSID
assigned to a resource should not be counted on to describe the
characteristics or attributes of the resource that the LSID refers to.
The users of the LSIDs are permitted to use individual components (as
specified elsewhere in this document) of LSIDs - although the LSID
component parts themselves should be treated as opaque pieces of the
identifier." LSID spec, Section 8.

It's regrettable that the LSID spec is so poorly written that it
permits the useless term "should". Alas, I suppose that leaves room
for argument with my position that LSIDs with embedded metadata are
not LSIDs--they are something else based on the LSID syntax.  There's
nothing inherently wrong with, oh, say, a Handles implementation based
on prefacing LSID syntax with something controlled. See below.

Rod remarks:
> Note also that DOIs (and Handles) can be queried for metadata, see
> Tony Hammnd's OpenHandle project (http://www.crossref.org/CrossTech/2008/10/the_last_mile.html
>  and http://code.google.com/p/openhandle/), so we don't need to embed
> this in the actual identifier itself.

Bob replies
DOIs \are/ Handles. This is the (unstated?) reason that
http://wiki.tdwg.org/twiki/bin/view/GUID/TechnologyComparison is
filled with comparisons of the form  "DOI:   Same as Handles"

DOI is an implementation of Handles, with the additional treatment of
things about which Handles  is silent . See
http://www.doi.org/factsheets/DOIHandle.html  When I read that
document casually, I come to the initial conclusion that Donald's
proposal is essentially doing the same kind of extension to Handles
(possibly a Good Thing if correct), except for allowing metadata in
the identifier (yech!).


Robert A. Morris
Professor of Computer Science
ram at cs.umb.edu
phone (+1)617 287 6466

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