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DC-IDENTIFIERS  October 2007

DC-IDENTIFIERS October 2007

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Subject:

Question of identification.. URN vs. URI

From:

"Salokhe, Gauri (KCEW)" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

DCMI Identifiers Community <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 18 Oct 2007 17:44:43 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (75 lines)

Hi, 

I thought I might start of the discussion (not sure how many people re on
this list) with a question on Identifiers

We are currently trying to define a schema to describe organizations. The
architecture is distributed [1] and we would like to thus have a unique
identifier for each organization. In this architecture the data describing an
organization are stored in a file as an XML description based on a specific
application profile, and access to these distributed files is facilitated by
a central registry file. Theoretically, the Registry File could just consist
of a list of URLs, with no need for unique identifiers, since the URLs,
though not permanent, are unique. Using this approach, the dc:identifier
element would be used for the URL of the website and only the URLs of the
descriptions would be stored in the Registry file.

However, assigning a unique identifier to an organization allows us to: 
* change the URL of the record without creating a second entry in the
registry file; 
* (to a certain extent) avoid duplication; 
* performing faster harvesting; 
* most important of all, create and maintain relations between the records
(impossible with URLs since they can change).

Since it was decided to implement relations between the organizations (and
their parts: divisions, departments, branches etc.), the dc:relation element
was included with nested DCTERMS elements for describing different types of
relations with other records (organizations). Using this approach, one of the
elements of the metadata set had to contain a unique and permanent -
therefore location-independent - identifier. The unique number is generated
by taking the acronym, location of the organization, combined with 12
consonants taken from the name of the organization (six from each side).  The
last "action" is done to disambiguate between, for example, 

University of Agriculture Athens

University of Agriculture Faisalabad

Given all this, we would generate a sample URN as follows: 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FAO
Rome, Italy

would be:  urn:ags:org:FAO-ITA-FDNDGRTDNTNS

Now, we I have here two questions:

1) Is there a more simple way of generating a unique identifier given the
"distributed" architecture (plus lack of URLs on part of some organizations)?

and

2) can we use 

<dc:identifier scheme="AGS:URN">
urn:ags:org:FAO-ITA-FDNDGRTDNTNS</dc:identifier>
<dc:identifier scheme="DCTERMS:URI"> http://www.fao.org/ </dc:identifier>

where AGS refers to the "Agricultural Metadata Element Set" namespace
http://www.fao.org/aims/intro_meta.jsp

We discovered that the guidelines at [2]  it is not even necessary to specify
a different scheme: URI should be good both for URLs and URNs, and then the
first letters of the id (urn: or http:) should identify the protocol or
scheme or whatever. But this would be more difficult to parse in XML than
specifying a different scheme.

Thanks in advance for your time!
Gauri

[1] A Distributed Architecture for Harvesting Metadata Describing
Organizations in the Agriculture Sector
ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/ai157e/ai157e00.pdf
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/uri-clarification/

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