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CODE4LIB  May 2009

CODE4LIB May 2009

Subject:

Re: One Data Format Identifier (and Registry) to Rule Them All

From:

Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 3 May 2009 18:00:16 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (245 lines)

The new URI may be unavoidable to resolve the present situation, especially realizing that current attempted solutions do not deal with verioning succesfully, as Jenn Riley notes through experience. 

What is the current state of the art for dealing with versioning in URIs, with having URIs that specify a particular version of the thing-identified, but also allow you to easily tell that any of those URIs represents the thing at some version, when you don't care about what version in particular. 

Sure, conceptually and theoretically you could use ANY arbitrary URIs to refer to a specific version. http://something.org/mods refers to mods 3.0, and http://else.org/mods refers to 3.1, and http://foo.com/bar refers to mods 3.2.  And then I guess you could theoretically have RDF that asserts the same-thing-different-version relationship between them?  I think?  I'm no RDF expert, is why I ask. 

But even if that's conceptually possible, it wouldn't be a good idea. Too confusing to humans (and being un-confusing to humans is part of what we do to try and encourage consistency and consensus in use); also too much trouble to discover that two URIs represent different versions of the same thing when you don't really care about version, you've got to actually follow the RDF spiderweb. We've got to build URIs that work for fantasy where all systems really DO understand RDF (and for the present few that do), AND that still work for the majority of present day cases where systems don't. 

http://something.info/mods/3.0        ?

http://something.info/mods#3.0       ?

Naturally, either of those could give you RDF representations of the OTHER existing URIs that represent that particular version of MODS. 

Could http://something.info/mods then give you RDF representations of the other existing URIs that represent MODS regardless of version?

Are other people in linked data and URIs in general doing anything that makes sense in these areas?

Jonathan
________________________________________
From: Code for Libraries [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ross Singer [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, May 01, 2009 9:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] One Data Format Identifier (and Registry) to Rule Them All

I agree that most software probably won't do it.  But the data will be
there and free and relatively easy to integrate if one wanted to.

In a lot ways, Jonathan, it's got Umlaut written all over it.

Now to get to Jonathan's point -- yes, I think the primary goal still
needs to be working towards bringing use of identifiers for a given
thing to a single variant.  However, we would obviously have to know
what the options are in order to figure out what that one is -- while
we're doing that, why not enter the different options into the
registry and document them in some way (such as, who uses this
variant?).  Voila, we have a "crosswalk".

Of course, the downside is that we technically also have a "new" URI
for this resource (since the skos:Concept would need to have a URI),
but we could probably hand wave that away as the id for the registry
concept, not the data format.

So -- we seem to have some agreement here?

-Ross.

On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 5:53 PM, Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From my perspective, all we're talking about is using the same URI to refer
> to the same format(s) accross the library community standards this community
> generally can control.
>
> That will make things much easier for developers, especially but not only
> when building software that interacts with more than one of these standards
> (as client or server).
>
> Now, once you've done that, you've ALSO set the stage for that kind of RDF
> scenario, among other RDF scenarios. I agree with Mike that that particular
> scenario is unlikely, but once you set the stage for RDF experimentation
> like that, if folks are interested in experimenting (and many in our
> community are), maybe something more attractively useful will come out of
> it.
>
> Or maybe not. Either way, you've made things easier and more inter-operable
> just by using the same set of URIs across multiple standards to refer to the
> same thing. So, yeah, I'd still focus on that, rather than any kind of
> 'cross walk', RDF or not. It's the actual use case in front of us, in which
> the benefit will definitely be worth the effort (if the effort is kept
> manageable by avoiding trying to solve the entire universe of problems at
> once).
>
> Jonathan
>
> Mike Taylor wrote:
>>
>> So what are we talking about here?  A situation where an SRU server
>> receives a request for response records to be delivered in a
>> particular format, it doesn't recognise the format URI, so it goes and
>> looks it up in an RDF database and discovers that it's equivalent to a
>> URI that it does know?  Hmm ... it's crazy, but it might just work.
>>
>> I bet no-one does it, though.
>>
>>  _/|_
>>  ___________________________________________________________________
>> /o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <[log in to unmask]>
>>  http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
>> )_v__/\  "Someday, I'll show you around monster-free Tokyo" -- dialogue
>>         from "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe"
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Peter Noerr writes:
>>  > I agree with Ross wholeheartedly. Particularly in the use of an RDF
>> based mechanism to describe, and then have systems act on, the semantics of
>> these uniquely identified objects. Semantics (as in Web) has been exercising
>> my thoughts recently and the problems we have here are writ large over all
>> the SW people are trying to achieve. Perhaps we can help...
>>  >  > Peter  >  > > -----Original Message-----
>>  > > From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
>> Of
>>  > > Ross Singer
>>  > > Sent: Friday, May 01, 2009 13:40
>>  > > To: [log in to unmask]
>>  > > Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] One Data Format Identifier (and Registry) to
>> Rule
>>  > > Them All
>>  > >  > > Ideally, though, if we have some buy in and extend this outside
>> our
>>  > > communities, future identifiers *should* have fewer variations, since
>>  > > people can find the appropriate URI for the format and use that.
>>  > >  > > I readily admit that this is wishful thinking, but so be it.  I
>> do
>>  > > think that modeling it as SKOS/RDF at least would make it attractive
>>  > > to the Linked Data/Semweb crowd who are likely the sorts of people
>>  > > that would be interested in seeing URIs, anyway.
>>  > >  > > I mean, the worst that can happen is that nobody cares, right?
>>  > >  > > -Ross.
>>  > >  > > On Fri, May 1, 2009 at 3:41 PM, Peter Noerr
>> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>  > > > I am pleased to disagree to various levels of 'strongly" (if we can
>> agree
>>  > > on a definition for it :-).
>>  > > >
>>  > > > Ross earlier gave a sample of a "crossw3alk' for my MARC problem.
>> What he
>>  > > supplied
>>  > > >
>>  > > > -----snip
>>  > > > We could have something like:
>>  > > > <http://purl.org/DataFormat/marcxml>
>>  > > >  . <skos:prefLabel> "MARC21 XML" .
>>  > > >  . <skos:notation> "info:srw/schema/1/marcxml-v1.1" .
>>  > > >  . <skos:notation> "info:ofi/fmt:xml:xsd:MARC21" .
>>  > > >  . <skos:notation> "http://www.loc.gov/MARC21/slim" .
>>  > > >  . <skos:broader> http://purl.org/DataFormat/marc .
>>  > > >  . <skos:description> "..." .
>>  > > >
>>  > > > Or maybe those skos:notations should be owl:sameAs -- anyway,
>> that's not
>>  > > really the point.  The point is that all of these various identifiers
>> would
>>  > > be valid, but we'd have a real way of knowing what they actually
>> mean.
>>  > >  Maybe this is what you mean by a crosswalk.
>>  > > > ------end
>>  > > >
>>  > > > Is exactly what I meant by a "crosswalk". Basically a translating
>>  > > dictionary which allows any entity (system or person) to relate the
>> various
>>  > > identifiers.
>>  > > >
>>  > > > I would love to see a single unified set of identifiers, my life as
>> a
>>  > > wrangled of record semantics would be soooo much easier. But I don't
>> see it
>>  > > happening.
>>  > > >
>>  > > > That does not mean we should not try. Even a unification in our
>> space
>>  > > (and "if not in the library/information space, then where?" as Mike
>> said)
>>  > > reduces the larger problem. However I don't believe it is a scalable
>>  > > solution (which may not matter if all of a group of users agree, they
>> why
>>  > > not leave them to it) as, at any time one
>> group/organisation/person/system
>>  > > could introduce a new scheme, and a world view which relies on
>> unified
>>  > > semantics would no longer be viable.
>>  > > >
>>  > > > Which means until global unification on an object (better a (large)
>> set
>>  > > of objects) is achieved it will be necessary to have the translating
>>  > > dictionary and systems which know how to use it. Unification reduces
>> Ray's
>>  > > list of 15 alternative uris to 14 or 13 or whatever. As long as that
>> number
>>  > > is >1 translation will be necessary. (I will leave aside discussions
>> of
>>  > > massive record bloat, continual system re-writes, the politics of
>> whose
>>  > > view prevails, the unhelpfulness of compromises for joint solutions,
>> and so
>>  > > on.)
>>  > > >
>>  > > > Peter
>>  > > >
>>  > > >> -----Original Message-----
>>  > > >> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
>> Behalf Of
>>  > > >> Mike Taylor
>>  > > >> Sent: Friday, May 01, 2009 02:36
>>  > > >> To: [log in to unmask]
>>  > > >> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] One Data Format Identifier (and Registry)
>> to
>>  > > Rule
>>  > > >> Them All
>>  > > >>
>>  > > >> Jonathan Rochkind writes:
>>  > > >>  > Crosswalk is exactly the wrong answer for this. Two very small
>>  > > >>  > overlapping communities of most library developers can surely
>> agree
>>  > > >>  > on using the same identifiers, and then we make things easier
>> for
>>  > > >>  > US.  We don't need to solve the entire universe of problems.
>> Solve
>>  > > >>  > the simple problem in front of you in the simplest way that
>> could
>>  > > >>  > possibly work and still leave room for future expansion and
>>  > > >>  > improvement. From that, we learn how to solve the big problems,
>>  > > >>  > when we're ready. Overreach and try to solve the huge problem
>>  > > >>  > including every possible use case, many of which don't apply to
>> you
>>  > > >>  > but SOMEDAY MIGHT... and you end up with the kind of
>>  > > >>  > over-abstracted over-engineered
>>  > > >>  > too-complicated-to-actually-catch-on solutions that... we in
>> the
>>  > > >>  > library community normally end up with.
>>  > > >>
>>  > > >> I strongly, STRONGLY agree with this.  It's exactly what I was
>> about
>>  > > >> to write myself, in response to Peter's message, until I saw that
>>  > > >> Jonathan had saved me the trouble :-)  Let's solve the problem
>> that's
>>  > > >> in front of us right now: bring SRU into harmony with OpenURL in
>> this
>>  > > >> respect, and the very act of doing so will lend extra legitimacy
>> to
>>  > > >> the agreed-on identifiers, which will then be more strongly
>> positioned
>>  > > >> as The Right Identifiers for other initiatives to use.
>>  > > >>
>>  > > >>  _/|_
>>  > >  ___________________________________________________________________
>>  > > >> /o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <[log in to unmask]>
>>  > > >> http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
>>  > > >> )_v__/\  "You cannot really appreciate Dilbert unless you've read
>> it in
>>  > > >>        the original Klingon." -- Klingon Programming Mantra
>>  > > >
>>
>>
>

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