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Re: request for info on Semantic Web business applications

From: Mark Donoghue <mark@thirdstation.com>
Date: Tue, 01 Mar 2005 14:15:29 -0500
To: Frank Manola <fmanola@acm.org>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org
Message-id: <dd6addd370134b7f020503922b3e87fe@thirdstation.com>

Hello all,

What a serendipidous opportunity! I was just today going to work on 
sending this
information out to selected members of the list but, since you asked ...

Semantic Web and the Digital Object Identifier
- Persistent, Unique, and Scalable Resources for Semantic Web 
Applications -

The company I work for is Content Directions, Inc.  Our principal
product is based on the Digital Object Identifier which, in turn, is an
application of the CNRI Handle System.  That's the short, obscure
version so I'll clarify.

CNRI Handle System (http://www.handle.net)
The CNRI Handle System is loosely described as a next-generation DNS 
or, DNS on
steroids. It was invented by Dr. Robert Kahn, one of the principal 
architects of the Internet, and
is his answer to the scalability problems of current naming systems.  
The basic
unit in the Handle System is the "Handle" which is a valid URI taking 
the form of:


What handles offer over current naming schemes are:
1) Persistance. Handles don't change.  The resources they point to may 
change but,
the handles remain the same.
2) Global Uniqueness.  Handles are guaranteed to be globally unique 
within the
global handle namespace.
3) One-to-many relationships.  A handle record provides a level of 
indirection for a
web resource.  The handle itself does not point to the location of a 
instead, a handle record contains a value of the type "URL" and whose 
value is the
current location for the resource.  If the location of a resource 
changes you just
need to update the handle record and all requests for that resource 
will be
directed to the new location.  An especially useful property of handle 
records is
the ability to attach arbitrary data to any handle and, it's very 
Basically, you say "This handle has a value of type so-and-so whose 
value is such-and-such."

Digital Object Identifiers (http://www.doi.org)
The DOI Foundation website describes DOIs best so I'll quote directly 

"The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a system for identifying content
objects in the digital environment. DOIs are names assigned to any
entity for use on digital networks. They are used to provide current
information, including where they (or information about them) can be
found on the Internet. Information about a digital object may change
over time, including where to find it, but its DOI will not change.

"The DOI system provides a framework for persistent identification,
managing intellectual content, managing metadata, linking customers with
content suppliers, facilitating electronic commerce, and enabling
automated management of media. DOIs can be used for any form of
management of any data, whether commercial or non-commercial. "

The DOI system uses the concept an Application Profile to describe the
semantics governing the values associated with any particular DOI.

A DOI is a handle so, DOIs are valid URI as well and take the form:


The above is a DOI that identifies me, Mark Donoghue.  The parts are
broken-down thusly:

doi:          10.1570     /              m.donoghue
----            -------         ----           ----------
scheme   prefix        a slash    local identifier

This DOI unambiguously identifies me, contains information about me, 
and is controlled by me.

Every entity wishing to register DOIs is issued a prefix by a 
registration agency
(like Content Directions). They are then free to create and register 
DOIs, usually
with the help of the registration agency (that would be us again).

Content Directions, Inc. (http://www.contentdirections.com)
As I mentioned, Content Directions, Inc. (CDI) is a DOI registration 
agency.  In
addition to providing DOI registration and creation services we add 
value to the
DOI with what we call MultiLinks.  A MultiLink is a DOI value that is 
used to make
an association between the DOI it's attached to and another web 
resource.  We use
the MultiLink values to create a menu of choices associated with the 
DOI.  Many
examples can be seen at http://doi.contentdirections.com/.

A DOI MultiLink value takes the form of a key=value pair where the key 
is used to
create a label and the value is usually a URI pointing to a related DOI 
or a web
page containing related content.

As an exampple of how DOIs (which are handles) are RDF-like: An RDF 
statement about
Content Directions could be:

<Content Directions> has a <website> which can be found at 

Now, Content Directions happens to have a DOI and it is doi:10.1220/1. 
So, to map
the above statement to the DOI system, instead of the string 'Content 
we'd use doi:10.1220/1 and, instead of <website> we'd use <URL> so it 
would look like:

<doi:10.1220/1> has a <URL> whose value is 

For an example of MultiLinks we can turn to the DOI that references me:

<doi:10.1570/m.donoghue> has a <MULTIRES> whose value is 

To see what this statement looks like in real life point your browser to
http://hdl.handle.net/.  Once there, put my DOI (10.1570/m.donoghue) 
into the
textbox labeled 'Handle'.  Put a check in the box labeled "Don't 
Redirect to URLs,"
then submit the form.

What you will see is the actual handle record for my DOI.  The above 
RDF statement
should be the first item in the list with an index of 1000.


And this brings me to my final point.  HOORRAAAYYYY!!!!

When you look at my DOI handle record you will also see a bunch of 
handle values
that look like FOAF.*

Those are what I've been working on for the past few weeks and are a 
of how Friend-of-a-Friend data can be mapped to DOIs and used by 
clients to create
social networks, trust networks, and topic maps among other things 
(left as an
exercise for the reader).

In addition to FOAF data I've been toying with embedding Dublic Core 
and PICS into
DOIs. I've also created DOIs from RSS feeds (see 

PICS labels would be easy to add to DOIs for clients to use when 
filtering web
content and the label is right there with the location of the content.  
An additional
file containing the labels is not required.

** Here is what we need **

Partners.  We need partners.  I can play with this stuff all day but, in
the end, we can't afford to chase down and create a market for every
application of the DOI. We want to partner with persons/companies who
wish to create pilots using the DOI system as the backend for their
Semantic Web application.  We would supply the access to, and expertise
with the DOI system. You would work with your customers and us to
implement the pilot.  Paid pilots are preferable but, if the 
application is
compelling and the customer is high-profile we are willing to 
negotiate.  Our primary
goal is to get the DOI into wide public circulation.  It's my opinion 
that the
Semantic Web is where we can have the greatest impact.  I'm hoping you 
can help me
prove that to be correct.


  *     Mark Donoghue
  *     Consulting Engineer
  *     Content Directions, Inc.
  *     p: (845) 242-8501
  *     e: MDonoghue@ContentDirections.com
  *  doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1570/m.donoghue
On Mar 1, 2005, at 9:41 AM, Frank Manola wrote:
Received on Tuesday, 1 March 2005 19:26:17 UTC

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