Re: examples of linking bibliographic RDF to articles

From: Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 15:29:14 -0400

Matthew Cockerill wrote:
> In terms of central registries:
> Depends what you mean by central
> Coordinated registries which manage a global namespace exist and function well for, to give just a few examples:
> * product bar codes (UPC)
> * books (ISBN)
> * serials (ISSN)
> * Scholarly articles (DOI)
> * Protein structures (PDB ids)
> * internet hostnames (DNS)
> The same could apply for scholarly article author identifiers.

True enough, although I share TimBL vision that you don't really need
more than one registry, as the others can be derived from it. (as an
example, see how P2P networks were designed to avoid central point of
failure, technical or social/legal)

Registries have a tendency to become controlling entities (or preferred
targets!) and they also use a lot of energy to keep the system running
and keeping the order in and the noise out... normally this energy
requires them to charge you.... and they create a de-facto monopoly that
they could further abuse.

The web required a domain name registry, but the idea of the semantic
web is that you don't need new ones. But DOI, handles, LSIDs emerged
anyway... but not because there is a real need, but because different
groups want to be in control of their identification space and don't
trust others to understand their problems (let's avoid more comments on
this for sake of diplomacy)

A refreshing example that goes the other way is the InChI identifier

I personally think that a system that tries to cope with disambiguation
of homographic heteronyms by use of a centralized authority is
suboptimal and fragile, if well behaving, abusive and monopolistic, if

I much prefer to design systems that start by considering failure,
mistakes and misalignment as a fact of life, rather than trying to
create a membrane that keeps entropy out and order in.

But then again, I'm biased as I'm allergic to monopolies :-)

Stefano Mazzocchi
Research Scientist                 Digital Libraries Research Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology            location: E25-131C
77 Massachusetts Ave                   telephone: +1 (617) 253-1096
Cambridge, MA  02139-4307              email: stefanom at mit . edu
Received on Fri Jul 15 2005 - 19:26:23 EDT

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