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[Long] Request Opinion on DID Documents and “SANC” (proposed nested publishing system)

From: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 20:18:19 -0800
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <d526de1d-4a5c-48f5-9226-31e557c9794c@sunshine.net>

Greetings,

(Please excuse the long post; I’ve shortened it several times but it’s
a relatively complex proposal, so I don’t think I can present it well
any shorter.)

I’m mulling an idea that a DID method might allow a nested publishing
system that links all designated stand-alone works by a single author.
I’ve been calling such works SANCs (“stand-alone nested chunks”).
“Nested” because they include smaller chunks inside a larger work,
like stand-alone chapters from a book, special-use paragraphs inside a
chapter, sample excerpts from a piece of music, or self-explanatory
Figures from a scientist’s data set.

I post here a first description of the idea, to ask if such a SANC
publishing system seems technically feasible with DIDs. My hunch is
that it’s an inevitable development when DIDs and linked data exist,
and possibly people are already working on it elsewhere, though I
don’t know of any at present.

I give a slightly longer summary and two examples below, and some
rationale at the end for why this might be a valuable use of the DID
system.

Any feedback appreciated.

Summary:
In the proposed Stand-Alone Nested Chunk (SANC) system, a
“stand-alone” work is any discrete work by an author that the author
believes will have its own audience or use. Taking text as an example,
a SANC could be as small as a single sentence, paragraph, or graphic
deemed noteworthy; or as large as a series of books. Every SANC gets a
DID Document. Every DID Document contains meta-data (and/or links) to
facilitate end-user access to the parent section of a SANC; laterally
to other SANCs at the same level; and to other larger works or groups
of works, all of which are also SANCs. Depending on the
implementation, portions of this linked access might use a permissions
language like ODRL, including for payments, sample excerpts, and usage
rights.

Example 1, Scientist:

Scientist M issues a report, “String Theory Today”, with Abstract,
Purpose, Method, Graphs, Data (containing Figures), Discussion and
Conclusions. Scientist M has published many different reports over
his/her career. Five earlier reports were directly related to String
Theory. From the current report, Scientist M believes that the
Abstract, Data, Conclusions, and two of the Figures from Data, and the
last paragraph of the Conclusions, would each be useful in various
collaborations, including as stand-alone statements in news and
science-preview sites.

Scientist M therefore, to get up to speed in the SANC / DID system,
issues (or authorizes the issuing of) DID Documents for each SANC that
is designated as a meaningful unit:
—Scientist M him/herself; (1 DID Doc)
—M’s full list of past reports; (a DID Doc for each report)
—M’s group of String Theory reports; (1 DID Doc for the group)
—M’s New report, “String Theory Today”; (1 DID Doc)
—Abstract, Data, and Conclusions of the new report (3 DID Docs);
—2 Figures from the Data; (2 DID Docs)
—A paragraph from the Conclusions (1 DID Doc).
Every DID Document contains a way to access all other works (SANCs) by
the same author, including getting meta-data about the author and
his/her works.

Example 2, Musician/lyricist/poet:

For each of the following:
—“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”.
—“No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn”.
—“This is the way the world ends / not with a bang but a whimper”.
Who wrote it? What larger work is it part of? What else did they
write? Can we read their other work now? Do we have to ask permission
or pay someone in order to get access to their work?

The proposed SANC / DID system could answer all these questions on the
basis of the user encountering a single work by the author, of any size.

Discussion:
The questions posed in Example 2 could equally apply to Example 1; and
to any other examples that can be envisioned for other types of works.
And an argument might be made that all these questions can be answered
by searching the Internet, but I see at least two strong reasons why a
SANC / DID system would be an improvement:

1. Author control:
Currently, Google, Wikipedia, and various advertisers and plagiarizing
sites constitute an industry feeding on the data that is created
and/or enabled by authors. In the SANC / DID system, an author has the
right to arrange and benefit from both the meta-data linking the SANCs
and from the SANCs themselves.

2. More Effective Distribution:
Young authors, or authors of any age who are just starting out, will
often not be easy for an end-user to track down, even if their works
have real value to the society. If an end-user can answer all the
above questions easily, via a single work (SANC) they encounter by the
author, it will increase the dissemination speed of that author’s
works through the society, with much less middleman overhead.

Final note: I think there are a large number of people who might make
use of a SANC / DID Document system to publish their work: novelists,
journalists, filmmakers, bloggers, and so forth. And it isn’t limited
to single persons: groups—any legal entity—could make use of it;
including governments who have complex layered material they must
supply; corporations with internal documents or user-manuals to
manage; and educational institutions with intricately inter-related
course materials.


All feedback appreciated, especially detailed warnings. ☺

Steven Rowat
Received on Tuesday, 20 February 2018 04:19:13 UTC

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