[Esip-preserve] Identifiers

Curt Tilmes Curt.Tilmes at nasa.gov
Wed Feb 15 14:26:32 EST 2012

As part of our ongoing Identifiers Activity [1] I'd like to post a few
thoughts (repeating/recapping some previous discussion and thinking
about where to go next).

We've made the case to identify datasets (whatever that means) with
DOIs [2].  Now we want to look beyond them.

I am a strong advocate for "Linked Data" [3,4] (and in particular
"Linked Open Data") which is summarized with these ideas:

     1. Use URIs as names for things

     2. Use HTTP URIs so that people can look up those names.

     3. When someone looks up a URI, provide useful information, using
        the standards (RDF*, SPARQL)

     4. Include links to other URIs. so that they can discover more

I really want to have a nice URI scheme where we can fit all the
'things' we're talking about (see PCCS [5]).  This will have all sorts
of benefits I won't list here..  I want to concentrate on how to
accomplish it.

1-3 are pretty easy, we just need to assign HTTP URIs and start using

For 4, we really need persistency and adoption.  Cool URIs don't
change [6] and we really want Cool URIs [7].

In the data identifiers paper, we discussed the importance of
persistency and described several schemes with methods of
accomplishing that.  We want to assign permanent URIs to things and
put a system and process in place to ensure that the URIs are always
resolvable.  Using a hopefully somewhat permanent prefix
(e.g. http://globalchange.gov or http://climate.data.gov) with a
server that can always resolve all the assigned identifiers, either
locally, or by delegating to another server I think we can accomplish
persistency.  (At least in the short term ;-))

Adoption is an interesting question.  These identifiers are most
useful when we we use the same identifier when referring to the same
thing. [8] But, we all want to say different things about things.  We
can also do things like assigning separate identifiers to things, but
asserting (owl:sameAs) equivalency between one identifier and another.
More on this later..

Some of the above referenced documents talk about a lot of guidelines
for developing "Cool URIs".

The UK government has gone a bit further with their data.gov.uk plan
[9].  It seems like *some* of the things we are trying to assign
identifiers to could fit nicely into an application of something
similar to their scheme.

Other thoughts?


[1] http://wiki.esipfed.org/index.php/Identifiers_Activity
[2] http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12145-011-0083-6
[3] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkedData.html
[4] http://linkeddata.org/
[6] http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI.html
[7] http://www.w3.org/TR/cooluris/
[8] http://www.w3.org/TR/webarch/

More information about the Esip-preserve mailing list