DOIs and Linked Data: Some Concrete Proposals

Since last month’s threads (here, here, here and here) talking about the issues involved in making the DOI a first-class identifier for linked data applications, I’ve had the chance to actually sit down with some of the thread’s participants (Tony Hammond, Leigh Dodds, Norman Paskin) and we’ve been able sketch-out some possible scenarios for migrating the DOI into a linked data world. I think that several of us were struck by how little actually needs to be done in order to fully address virtually all of the concerns that the linked data community has expressed about DOIs.

Does a Crossref DOI identify a “work?”

Tony’s recent thread on making DOIs play nicely in a linked data world has raised an issue I’ve meant to discuss here for some time- a lot of the thread is predicated on the idea that Crossref DOIs are applied at the abstract “work” level. Indeed, that it what it currently says in our guidelines. Unfortunately, this is a case where theory, practice and documentation all diverge. When the Crossref linking system was developed it was focused primarily on facilitating persistent linking amongst journals and conference proceedings.

A Christmas Reading List… with DOIs

Geoffrey Bilder

Geoffrey Bilder – 2009 December 13

In IdentifiersLinking

Was outraged (outraged, I tell you) that one of my favorite online comics, PhD, didn’t include DOIs in their recent bibliography of Christmas-related citations.. So I’ve compiled them below. We care about these things so that you don’t have to. Bet you will sleep better at night knowing this. Or perhaps not… A Christmas Reading List… with DOIs. Citation: Biggs, R, Douglas, A, Macfarlane, R, Dacie, J, Pitney, W, Merskey, C & O’Brien, J, 1952, ‘Christmas Disease’, BMJ, vol.

Citation Typing Ontology

I was happy to read David Shotton’s recent Learned Publishing article, Semantic Publishing: The Coming Revolution in scientific journal publishing, and see that he and his team have drafted a Citation Typing Ontology.* Anybody who has seen me speak at conferences knows that I often like to proselytize about the concept of the “typed link”, a notion that hypertext pioneer, Randy Trigg, discussed extensively in his 1983 Ph.D. thesis.. Basically, Trigg points out something that should be fairly obvious- a citation (i.

An interview about “Author IDs”

Geoffrey Bilder

Geoffrey Bilder – 2009 February 19

In Identifiers

Over the past few months there seems to have been a sharp upturn in general interest around implementing an “author identifier” system for the scholarly community. This, in turn, has meant that more people have been getting in touch with us about our nascent “Contributor ID” project. The other day, after seeing my comments in the above thread, Martin Fenner asked if he could interview me about the issue of author identifiers for his blog on Nature Networks, Gobbledygook.

CURIE Syntax 1.0


thammond – 2009 January 19

In Identifiers

The W3C has recently (Jan. 16) released CURIE Syntax 1.0 as a Candidate Recommendation and is inviting implementations. (Note that I made a fuller post here on CURIEs and erroneously confused the Editor’s Draft (Oct. 23, ’08) as being a Candidate Recommendation. Well, at least it’s got there now.)

Standard InChI Defined


thammond – 2009 January 17

In IdentifiersInchi

IUPAC has just released the final version (1.02) of its InChI software, which generates Standard InChIs and Standard InChIKeys. (InChI is the IUPAC International Chemical Identifier.) The Standard InChI “removes options for properties such as tautomerism and stereoconfiguration”, so that a molecule will always generate the same stable identifier - a unique InChI - which facilitates “interoperability/compatibility between large databases/web searching and information exchange”. Note also that any “shortcomings in Standard InChI may be addressed using non-Standard InChI (currently obtainable using InChI version 1.

CURIEs - A Cure for URIs


thammond – 2008 December 03

In Identifiers

A quick straw poll of a few folks at London Online yesterday revealed that they had not heard of CURIE’s. And there was I thinking that most everybody must have heard of them by now. 🙂 So anyway here’s something brief by way of explanation.

CURIE stands for Compact URI and does the signal job or rendering long and difficult to read URI strings into something more manageable. (URIs do have the particular gift of being “human transcribable” but in practice their length and the actual characters used in the URI strings tend to muddy things for the reader.) So given that the Web is built upon a bedrock of URIs, anything that then makes URIs easier to handle is going to be an important contributor to our overall ease of interaction with the Web.


Five Years


thammond – 2008 July 28

In Identifiers

Oh wow! A rather remarkable plea here from Dan Brickley on the public-lod mailing list which calls for the registrant of the DNS entry to top it up with another 5+ years worth of clocktime. Some quotes: _“The idea of such a cool RDF namespace having only 6 months left on the DNS registration gives me the worries.” “If you could add another 5-10 years to the DNS registration I’d sleep easier at night.



thammond – 2008 May 23

In Identifiers

So, the big guns have decided that XRI is out. In a message from the TAG yesterday, variously noted as being “categorical” (Andy Powell, eFoundations) and a “proclamation” (Edd Dumbill,, the co-chairs (Tim Berners-Lee and Stuart Williams) had this to say: “We are not satisfied that XRIs provide functionality not readily available from http: URIs. Accordingly the TAG recommends against taking the XRI specifications forward, or supporting the use of XRIs as identifiers in other specifications.
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