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

Roger Hyam rogerhyam at mac.com
Fri Apr 3 21:39:57 CEST 2009

If LSIDs are to succeed for the biodiversity community they need a  
service with long term support from large organisations and projects.

DOIs have a business model. LSIDs currently do not. Without a business  
model (read funding) we should stick to something that doesn't have  
the implementation/adoption impediment of LSIDs and make the best of  
it (i.e. just have a usage policy for HTTP URIs).

The up coming e-Biosphere conference (June) is billed as an  
opportunity for the heads of the bigger projects to get together and  
decide what will happen for the next 10 years. If we are going to be  
using LSIDs in the future those heads need to agree to fund a DOI-like  
infrastructure for LSIDs or come out and say they are not prepared to  
do it.

TDWG can act as a forum for these projects/organisations to coordinate  
their actions but doesn't have its own resources.

I believe this is largely a political problem not a technical one. It  
needs to be resolved quickly.

Personally I hope that whatever we end up with is fully interoperable  
with the linked data movement as they are trying to do more or less  
exactly what we are trying to do . It may be worth reflecting on the  
fact that TBL et al are not telling us how to do biology they are  
telling us how to link data up. That doesn't make them right and us  
wrong but it is their field and not ours so maybe we should listen.

All the best,


On 3 Apr 2009, at 20:04, Peter DeVries wrote:

> I think that the two initial comments are more about poking fun at  
> the messenger than addressing the message, yes web pages have typo's
> and links between sites can be down. The connection problem seems to  
> be on the University of Berlin end, not linked data.
> My point is that this initiative has momentum and a number of  
> enthusiastic followers, where is the momentum and where are the  
> enthusiastic followers behind LSID's?
> One of the standards in linked data is that URI's should not change  
> and they have a number of good recommendations on how to mint them  
> and persist them over time. Some of these would apply to minting  
> LSID's.
> It is one thing to design a standard or technology, it is quite  
> another to get others to adopt and use it.
> You might want to consider who has had more success in developing  
> widely adopted standards Tim Berners-Lee or TDWG?
> I may be relatively new to TDWG and Entomology but I am not new to  
> biocomputing or the issues involved in developing tools or
> techniques that are widely adopted.
> My assumption is that you want to develop a standard that is widely  
> adopted, and that will involve addressing the concerns of potential
> adopters. My main needs involve tying species concepts to  
> observations, environmental and other data. The TWDG standards have
> not been very helpful to me and the reliance on LSID's is one  
> problem. Those implementations that are available do not really  
> work. Does
> uBio deliver properly encoded data? No, at least not always.
> - Pete
> On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 12:54 PM, Hilmar Lapp <hlapp at duke.edu> wrote:
> On Apr 3, 2009, at 1:23 PM, Peter DeVries wrote:
> [...]
> 3) LSIDs increase the implementation costs significantly beyond the  
> costs required for domain registration and a web server.
> I think you'll find plenty of people who will argue that the cost of  
> minting persistent GUIDs is much higher than the cost of a web  
> server and domain registration in any event, and that it might be a  
> Good Thing(tm) if an identifier system doesn't pretend otherwise.
> [...] 4) Tim Berners-Lee feels that LSIDs are unnecessary, and after  
> spending several years looking at this issue I think he is right.  
> Even if TBL is wrong, you have positioned yourself for an uphill  
> battle for adoption.
> He has been wrong before. More to the point, I don't think this has  
> to matter. In 1998 he would have probably said that DOIs are  
> unnecessary. They may indeed be, from a technological standpoint,  
> but from a social and business (sustainability) standpoint they've  
> clearly been hugely successful. So I think the question that matters  
> much more is, is there (or will there be) a similar ecosystem and  
> environment for LSIDs that will make them equally useful. That's  
> what I'm less sure about.
> Also, I think we ought not to confuse one use-case for GUIDs (such  
> as linked data) with the requirements for an identifier system for  
> biodiversity.
>        -hilmar
> BTW if anyone feels this is a long discussion that has been had  
> before, check out the thread that begins with "registering info:  
> uris" on the Code4Lib list (http://www.mail-archive.com/code4lib%40listserv.nd.edu/ 
> ) It turns out they struggle with similar questions (and also not  
> for the first time), except in a library context, which might be  
> much closer to a museum context than a semweb research community.
> -- 
> ===========================================================
> : Hilmar Lapp  -:-  Durham, NC  -:- hlapp at duke dot edu :
> ===========================================================
> -- 
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Pete DeVries
> Department of Entomology
> University of Wisconsin - Madison
> 445 Russell Laboratories
> 1630 Linden Drive
> Madison, WI 53706
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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> tdwg-tag mailing list
> tdwg-tag at lists.tdwg.org
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