At Fri, 14 Jan 2011 09:05:38 -0800,
Kyle Banerjee wrote:
> I haven't found anyone who buys my take on this problem, but I'm offering it
> IMO, persistent URLs are a lost cause and are often an outright liability.
> Instead of messing with persistent URLs, the emphasis should be on
> persistent identifiers.
> Here's the rub -- no amount of indirection or abstraction can alter the fact
> that *people* ultimately say where things are. Purls, handles, and all other
> resolution services must be told where the item actually is in order to
> When this doesn't happen (and it often doesn't as I've encountered plenty of
> dead purls and handles), finding the real item is that much harder because
> you don't even have the original URL which can be a useful access point for
> finding related materials and is even helpful for finding items that moved
> elsewhere. There is also the issue that a resolution service itself is
> dependent on key things that make ordinary URLs unstable such as
> organizational changes.
> It's much easier to just embed a unique identifier. As a practical matter it
> doesn't matter much how this is done (though there is some utility in having
> a predictable URL friendly syntax). The item can move anywhere, access
> becomes less dependent on specific technologies, and so long as an indexing
> engine that your discovery interface can connect to has access to the item
> or metadata, you're set.
This attitude makes sense only if you are used to very bad “persistent
URL” systems. A URI is an identifier. Making it persistent is our job.
Using a different identifier scheme won’t make our job easier.
Adam, you should (in my opinion) have a look at the introduction to
the ARK specification  for a useful take on persistent identifiers.
Sent from my free software system <http://fsf.org/>.