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Re: Memo on persistent reference - TAG please read before F2F discussion

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2010 20:20:37 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTimN+8u5syXKKNXy6q4M3wd7S3+kd9Si3rfwozc5@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
This is very nice, but it doesn't answer the question of whether http:
URIs can be or should be recommended or disrecommended in the role of
persistent "identifiers" (e.g. in spreadsheets, RDF, other data value
contexts - not just as advisory metadata attached to a "real"
reference). (I know, you didn't claim that it did.) In a way it argues
that the use of non-http: URI schemes will be just fine, because of
the availability of the mappings. Over time the technology (browsers
and/or servers) will learn to deal with them, and there will be less
and less reason to use http: for 'clickability'. One might even expect
that over time, if this works well, many 'sites' that currently use
http: would switch over to these other things, since they are governed
by law, not protocol.

It also says nothing about the stability of the mappings themselves.
If the mapping is stable, then you can just use the mapped http: URI
as a persistent identifier and forget about the original. But how can
the mapping be guaranteed stable? - That's the same question as
persistence in the http: scheme generally.  If the mapping isn't
persistent then the origin document has to carry the non-http: URI. If
it is persistent we have to explain to the skeptics (including me) why
and when http: can be trusted in the long term, something we have so
far, in my opinion, failed to do. (I don't mean "convince", just
"explain".)

Jonathan

On Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 5:28 PM, Henry S. Thompson <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
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> Further to ISSUE-50, the record of a meeting in London on persistence
> held in February 2010 is finally available [1].  Virtually all the
> major URI schemes were represented by advocates, and there were
> skeptics present in abundance as well.  Paul Walk of UKOLN (Bath) and
> I formulated a candidate Best Practice, which somewhat to our surprise
> was unanimously endorsed, as follows:
>
>  [E]nsure that actionable http URI manifestations are available for
>  any non-native http URI identifiers.
>
> And we further agreed that
>
>  [Owners of schemes should provide] agreed and consistent ways of
>  constructing these manifestations.
>
> I hope the TAG can endorse these propositions soon, and I hope to wrap
> up my long-dangling draft on this basis.
>
> ht
>
> [1] http://identifiers2010.jiscpress.org/4-candidate-statements-of-common-agreement/
> - --
>       Henry S. Thompson, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
>      10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB, SCOTLAND -- (44) 131 650-4440
>                Fax: (44) 131 651-1426, e-mail: ht@inf.ed.ac.uk
>                       URL: http://www.ltg.ed.ac.uk/~ht/
>  [mail from me _always_ has a .sig like this -- mail without it is forged spam]
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Received on Tuesday, 19 October 2010 03:21:14 GMT

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