Spent well over an hour gesticulating my way through the high-level use case diagrams of the PILIN national service, and the deliverables. (No software demo.)
RIDIR is leading up to UK mgt of national identifier scheme: fraught, but doable. JISC interested in scoping whether PILIN stuff is useful; if this happens, it'll be in the next nine months. UK needs to be sold on uses of identifiers to support national identifier infrastructure. PILIN has some interesting ideas they want to hear at more length to use in their advocacy.
Martin Dow and Steve Bayliss (ex-Rightscom, now Acuity Unlimited) have done extensive ontology work; we must hook up with them to find out how for our own ontology formalisation. Their chosen ontology IRE (built on top of DOLCE) can manage workflows and time-dependencies. They have also worked in the past on OntologyX.
Some subject domains get central data services here more than others (e.g. atmospheric data service is centralised, but there is no central geo data service: they just make data and throw it away).
JISC had started out from Norman Paskin's d-lib article, understanding that identifiers were happening in the physical world and with Rightscom's work, and then wanted to investigate analogies with the issues in the repository world. Hence the initial workshops; no obvious usecases or painpoints ("fear factors") emerged from the workshops. Was clear to RIDIR, a few months in, that the communities had no clear requirements for identifiers. There were only vague indications of the importance of identifiers to the communities. Rightscom had to go back to JISC for a steer half-way through: they could either (a) talk about value of identifiers & persistence in itself; or (b) illustrate how to do persistence ("cost" approach), taking the need for persistent identifiers as given. The latter was preferred, muchly because it was felt PILIN had already captured the why's and technical details of identifier persistence. (They are satisfied from my presentation that PILIN and RIDIR are still complementary.)
RIDIR went for corner cases, which sit outside policy and identifier infrastructure. Still difficult to arrive at concrete cases. They are at the last quarter of designing & building software, which had been held up because of lack of use cases. They only had time for a couple of software iterations. But in tandem with PILIN, will be useful work.
Would be v. interested in getting what they can from PILIN, about the usefulness and structure of a national provider, before they finalise their report.
Cf. Freebase as dynamically registered type language framework, lets you identify anything with your own vocabulary.
Demonstrators: the achievable use cases to highlight issues;
- Lost resource finder, backtracking through OAI-PMH provenances, to mitigate when identifiers really do get broken (cited resources which no longer resolve). Accepting that the world isn't perfect, and dealing with the problems as they arise.
- Locating related versions of things. Vocabulary for relations between things: making the assertions of relation first-class objects, with names and types and authorities, drawing on existing vocabularies. There is no agreed vocab of what is identified, so needed to put in place free-fom, user-driven semantic workspace: they choose their ontologies, you just provide the infrastructure for it.
Could go further with this; eg Open-calais [sp?], which extracts vocabs of concepts from a corpus, and could reconcile them with the labels of the concept graphs.
RIDIR is about identifier interoperability, which means:
- metadata interoperability, reconciling different schemas; metadata are claims about relation between identifier and thing;
- mechanisms for expression of relationship between different referents (e.g. relationship service);
- creation of common services, consistent & predictable user experience across services
Demo 1: Lost Resource Finder. Capture relations between URLs that no longer work and new URLs; no reverse lookup via a Handle. Two relations between URLs; the relations are RDF driven. First, manager can register a new URL corresponding to old URL ---- leading to a redirection splash page (it's an *authoritative* redirect record). This deals with decommisioned repositories. Second, can also crowdsource redirections of lost resources: "RIDIR users suggest that this has been redirected to...", complete with confidence rating. Redirect allows user to supply their own vote: "that's it", "no it isn't", etc. Can also search for alternate versions of content through searching the OAI-PMH harvest of all [e-research] repositories in the UK. OpenURL metadata driven query can be used to plug in to redirect, driven by metadata, to the new resource --- and identifiers are not invoked at all: this takes place, after all, as a fallback when the persistent identifier has already failed. This is a custom 404 page, offering heuristic alternative resolutions.
This was accompanied by a demo of the underlying RDF (not in final release); they have reified all the assertions involved in the model, so they can make claims about them. ORE came in to being too late for RIDIR project to engage with substantively, though they like what they see; maybe next extension.
Demo 2: Locate Related Versions. We have identifiers for stuff and relations between them again, the relation changes to versioning. Demonstrator works off TRILT (all BBC broadcasts in UK), and Spoken Word Service (repository of BBC items useable as learning resources); wanted to do relationship assertions across repositories to build added discovery value. Had a ready list of relations (not just "identical-to"); but building a complete vocab was completely out of scope and inappropriate, esp. given disparate communities of users. Can crowdsource suggestions of other related versions of the resource, and indeed of other related content. Very very cool.
And I demo'd icanhascheezburger.com as instance of crowdsourcing links between resources.