So that will teach me to post a moderately controversial opinion, then leave to take the kids out for a pizza dinner.
I agree with what has been said so far, an in particular with Jonathan's latest e-mail below. Abstraction layers are good. Hiding abstraction layers from users is even better. If the best you can do is an external Handle/PURL set-up, then it is better than nothing. If you have some control and institutional commitment to a URL space -- creating "cool URIs"  to your content, if you will -- then by all means do that. If you can also attempt to future-proof your URL space with something like ARKs , then I think it is the best of all worlds.
On Jan 26, 2011, at 6:23 PM, Jonathan Rochkind wrote:
> What some in this thread are frowning on is having an "abstraction layer" such that the persistent URL for your web page or resource is not the URL that typical users see in their browser location bar when viewing that resource or web page.
> If your abstraction layer can make that so, then I don't think anyone in this thread would frown upon it.
> If your abstraction layer can't make that so... then I personally still agree it's sometimes an appropriate solution, the best trade-off, an acceptable evil.
> But it's worth spending some time thinking about if you can set it up to do that instead.
> Some shops have more technical capacity than others. If you are at a shop that can't even do their own apache install, then you are pretty much at the bottom of 'technical capacity' (which isn't an insult, that's where some people are), there isn't much of anything you can do, and you should be telling your vendors that you want them to provide you with software that does it right. That's pretty much all you can do. But STILL requires you to have enough understanding to tell the vendor what 'right' is and know if they've done it or not. If you can't even do that... well, you'll get what you get, so it goes.
> From: Code for Libraries [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Shearer, Timothy J [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 5:45 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] to link or not to link: PURLs
> Right, they are not the same, which is why I wondered if there was
> opposition to an abstraction layer in principle.
> A major problem for institutions who cannot afford to build is that they
> license systems. Licensed systems are often less than ideal.
> When an institution is in that scenario it either doesn't have the
> resources to tweak the system or the system is so closed as to be
> un-tweakable (or both).
> So your options, unless I'm missing something, are to stick with the bad
> urls your system provides, or to invest in an abstraction layer.
> I realize that the abstraction layer doesn't solve many of the problems
> (SEO, harvested indexes, user's re-use from the object they are looking
> at), but it does seem to solve some problems. Published urls (say in
> Worldcat, Open Library, and elsewhere). Taking advantage of linked data
> locally when you do have resources (e.g, an enhancing interface that
> extends functionality, or a preservation layer where a persistent
> identifier in the form of links would be handy).
> mod_rewrite assumes Apache, and that you may configure it.
> So I'm wondering if an abstraction layer is frowned upon in principle (as
> opposed to specific dislike or PURLS or handles).
> And, even if it's not ideal, whether it still presents utility, even in
> less than ideal implementations.
> On 1/26/11 5:09 PM, "Robert Forkel" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> as far as i can see, dislike of handles and PURLs doesn't mean
>> commitment to one system which will work in perpetuity, but only
>> commitment to own one domain in perpetuity. once you commit to that
>> you may create an abstraction/redirection layer with mod_rewrite :)
>> On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 11:01 PM, Shearer, Timothy J
>> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Peter, are you opposed to an abstraction layer in principle? My reading
>>> of your response is that there's an assumption that there is one
>>> and that it will work in perpetuity. We are in the unfortunate but I
>>> think fairly common position of having multiple systems, of aspiring to
>>> pare that down, and fully expectant that we'll need to migrate at some
>>> point even if we find perfection in the near to mid term. Having a link
>>> abstraction layer would make those transitions easier on our users, and
>>> the world of linked data in general.
>>> On 1/26/11 4:51 PM, "Peter Murray" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> On Jan 26, 2011, at 3:24 PM, Erik Hetzner wrote:
>>>>> At Wed, 26 Jan 2011 13:57:42 -0600,
>>>>> Pottinger, Hardy J. wrote:
>>>>>> Hi, this topic has come up for discussion with some of my
>>>>>> colleagues, and I was hoping to get a few other perspectives. For a
>>>>>> public interface to a repository and/or digital library, would you
>>>>>> make the handle/PURL an active hyperlink, or just provide the URL in
>>>>>> text form? And why?
>>>>>> My feeling is, making the URL an active hyperlink implies confidence
>>>>>> in the PURL/Handle, and provides the user with functionality they
>>>>>> expect of a hyperlink (right or option-click to copy, or bookmark).
>>>>> A permanent URL should be displayed in the address bar of the user$BNm(B
>>>>> browser. Then, when users do what they are going to do anyway (select
>>>>> the link in the address bar & copy it), it will work.
>>>> ...which is why I intensely dislike Handles and PURLs. Man-up
>>>> (person-up? byte-up?) and make a long-term commitment to own the URLs
>>>> mint with your digital asset management system.
Peter Murray [log in to unmask] tel:+1-678-235-2955
Ass't Director, Technology Services Development http://dltj.org/about/
Lyrasis -- Great Libraries. Strong Communities. Innovative Answers.
The Disruptive Library Technology Jester http://dltj.org/