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Re: Dons flame resistant (3 hours) interface about Linked Data URIs

From: Roderic Page <r.page@bio.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 07:57:28 +0100
Cc: "semantic-web@w3c.org" <semantic-web@w3c.org>, "public-lod@w3.org" <public-lod@w3.org>
Message-Id: <9ABE5A24-3DA0-4B02-9A29-53A4B56F0357@bio.gla.ac.uk>
To: Hugh Glaser <hg@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
There's a lot to be said for keeping things very simple.

Over in the biodiversity informatics community we've adopted Life  
Science Identifiers (LSID) as our identifier of choice, which require  
special software to both serve and resolve, plus the added  
complication of convincing your friendly sysadmin to add SRV records  
to the DNS (and no, I had no idea there were such things until I got  
involved in LSIDs).

The result has been rather limited uptake by data providers (albeit  
millions of records now have LSIDs), many LSIDs are broken (resolvers  
not working properly), and pretty much no client applications making  
use of them.

Some in our community think LSIDs are a mistake, and yearn for the  
simplicity of HTTP URIs. It's ironic that they too, are not so simple  
after all. Or perhaps, they are but we're determined to make them more  
complicated than they need to be.



On 10 Jul 2009, at 01:22, Hugh Glaser wrote:

> I am finding the current discussion really difficult.
> Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
> As an example:
> In the 1980s there were a load of hypertext systems that required  
> the users
> to do a bunch of stuff to buy into them. They had great theoretical  
> bases,
> and their proponents had unassailable arguments as to why their way  
> of doing
> things was right. And they really were unassailable - they were right.
> They essentially died.
> The web came along - I could publish a bunch of html pages about  
> whatever I
> wanted, simply by putting them in some directory somewhere that I  
> had access
> to (name told to me by my sysprog guru), and suddenly I was "on the  
> web". If
> the html syntax was wrong it was the browser's problem - don't come  
> back and
> tell me I did wrong, make what sense of it you can, it's your problem.
> Such simplicity, which was understandable by a huge swathe of people  
> who
> were using computers, and acceptable to their support staff, simply  
> swept
> all before it (including WAIS, ftp, gopher).
> Arguments about how "broken" the model was because of things like  
> links
> breaking and security problems were just ignored, and now seem almost
> archaic to most of us.
> I want the same for the Semantic Web/Linked Data.
> Discussions of 303 and hash just don't cut the mustard in  
> comparison. So I
> find it hard to engage in an extended discussion about them.
> Discussion:
> Q: "How do I do x?"
> Me: "Try this."
> Q: "This doesn't work, what now?"
> Immediately says to me that "this" must be wrong - we should go away  
> and
> think of something better.
> So would it really be so bad if people just started putting  
> documents with
> RDF in on the web, where the URI for both the document and the thing  
> it was
> about (NIR) got confused?
> All I actually want is a URI that resolves to some RDF.
> And even perhaps people would not run off to RDFa so quickly?
> If I can't simply publish some RDF about something like my dog, by
> publishing a file of triples that say what I want at my standard web  
> site,
> we have broken the system.
> <3 hours flame resistance starts />
> Best
> Hugh

Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page@bio.gla.ac.uk
Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792
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Received on Friday, 10 July 2009 06:58:20 UTC

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