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PURLs of wisdom

From: eric neumann <ekneumann@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 11:36:48 -0400
Message-ID: <92e86c7d0805300836g29fa8e91t36562a1864a1044b@mail.gmail.com>
To: "public-semweb-lifesci hcls" <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
While attending Semtech 2008 I was impressed with a number of interesting SW
talks. One in particular is worth mentioning to the HCLSIG community
regarding the roadmap to semanticizing data from authoritative sources. This
applies to data from sources such as NCBI and EBI (Uniprot has taken the
lead to help make this happen-- thank you!). In the URI note [1], for
instance, one possible idea is to use purl URIs to reference data/metadata
from NCBI that has been converted into RDF.
Even though PURLs offer re-direction (even when NCBI finally publishes its
own RDF), the URI would remain as purl.org/../ncbi/entrez-23111. Some of us
find this troubling, since most users of such data would expect the URI to
state clearly it comes from http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov or
http://ebi.ac.uk/. Some of you know this has been a long (and
difficult) discussion, and we
still have no clear proposal of how to do this. And here is where we have
lost momentum-- no clear path forward that most of us would be happy with...
Enter Active Purls: In Eric Miller's SemTech session on "PURLZ", he
described a new model for PURLs coming out this summer called Active PURLs.
These PURLS are associated with services that are defined the source. I
asked him about one specific service: if one starts with a PURL URI to
Entrez data converted to RDF by (let's say) the HCLS community, can one
include a service to say that if NCBI now has created its own RDF Entrez
version with URI, that the PURL should be permanently re-directed to the
NCBI location? In other words, can one ask a bunch of PURLs "what are your
direct, and permanent URIs to the authoritative source?" Eric's reply seems
to suggest this is quite easy to set up..

SO what is gained? Well if you have a large KB with lots of purl.org//ncbi/...
records, there would be now a mechanism to replace all these wholesale to
the new NCBI URIs. In other words, a global replace of older initial PURLs
to proper URIs from authoritative spaces. This seems to make a lot of life
science folks asking how to begin working with SW and URIs happy-- a clean
and basic transition model can be offered to the community for getting
started with SW via Active PURLS.

I would like to propose we plan to include this as a topic for the next HCLS
TC in the coming weeks. Perhaps we can even ask Eric M to speak about this,
and see if this indeed can help our efforts move forwards!


1 - http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/hcls/notes/uris/
Received on Friday, 30 May 2008 15:37:24 UTC

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