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CODE4LIB  November 2009

CODE4LIB November 2009

Subject:

Re: Assigning DOI for local content

From:

Ross Singer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 15:53:14 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 2:52 PM, Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Well, here's the trick about handles, as I understand it.  A handle, for
> instance, a DOI, is "10.1074/jbc.M004545200".

Well, actually, it could be:
10.1074/jbc.M004545200
doi:10.1074/jbc.M004545200
info:doi/10.1074/jbc.M004545200

etc. But there's still got to be some mechanism to get from there to:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M004545200
or
http://dx.hellman.net/10.1074/jbc.M004545200

I don't see why it's any different, fundamentally, than:
http://purl.hellman.net/?purl=http%3A%2F%2Fpurl.org%2FNET%2Fdoi%2F10.1074%2Fjbc.M004545200

besides being prettier.

Anyway, my argument wasn't that Purl was technologically more sound
that handles -- Purl services have a major single-point-of-failure
problem -- it's just that I don't buy the argument that handles are
somehow superior because they aren't limited to HTTP.

What I'm saying is that there plenty of valid reasons to value handles
more than purls (or any other indirection service), but independence
to HTTP isn't one of them.

-Ross.

> While, for DOI handles, normally we resolve that using dx.doi.org, at
> http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M004545200, that is not actually a requirement
> of the handle system. You can resolve it through any handle server, over
> HTTP or otherwise. Even if it's still over HTTP, it doesn't have to be at
> dx.doi.org, it can be via any handle resolver.
>
> For instance, check this out, it works:
>
> http://hdl.handle.net/10.1074/jbc.M004545200
>
> Cause the DOI is really just a subset of Handles, any resolver participating
> in the handle network can resolve em.  In Eric's hypothetical use case, that
> could be a local enterprise handle resolver of some kind. (Although I'm not
> totally sure that would keep your usage data private; the documentation I've
> seen compares the handle network to DNS, it's a distributed system, I'm not
> sure in what cases handle resolution requests are sent 'upstream' by the
> handle resolver, and if actual individual lookups are revealed by that or
> not. But in any case, when Ross suggests -- "Presumably dx.hellman.net would
> need to harvest its metadata from somewhere, which seems like it would leave
> a footprint. It also needs some mechanism to stay in sync with the master
> index." -- my reading this suggests this is _built into_ the handle
> protocol, it's part of handle from the very start (again, the DNS analogy,
> with the emphasis on the distributed resolution aspect), you don't need to
> invent it yourself. The details of exactly how it works, I don't know enough
> to say.  )
>
> Now, I'm somewhat new to this stuff too, I don't completely understand how
> it works.  Apparently hdl.handle.net can <strike>handle</strike> deal with
> any handle globally, while presumably dx.doi.org can only deal with the
> subset of handles that are also DOIs.  And apparently you can have a handle
> resolver that works over something other than HTTP too. (Although Ross
> argues, why would you want to? And I'm inclined to agree).
>
> But appears that the handle system is quite a bit more fleshed out than a
> simple purl server, it's a distributed protocol-independent network.   The
> protocol-independent part may or may not be useful, but it certainly seems
> like it could be, it doens't hurt to provide for it in advance. The
> distributed part seems pretty cool to me.
>
> So if it's no harder to set up, maintain, and use a handle server than a
> Purl server (this is a big 'if', I'm not sure if that's the case), and
> handle can do everything purl can do and quite a bit more (I'm pretty sure
> that is the case)... why NOT use handle instead of purl? It seems like
> handle is a more fleshed out, robust, full-featured thing than purl.
>
> Jonathan
>
>
>
>
>> Presumably dx.hellman.net would need to
>> harvest its metadata from somewhere, which seems like it would leave a
>> footprint.  It also needs some mechanism to stay in sync with the
>> master index.  Your non-resolution service also seems to be looking
>> these things up in realtime.  Would a RESTful or SOAP API (*shudder*)
>> not accomplish the same goal?
>>
>> Really, though, the binding argument here is less the issue here than
>> if you believe http URIs are valid identifiers or not since there's no
>> reason a URI couldn't be dereferenced via other bindings, either.
>>
>> -Ross.
>>
>>
>

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