[xml-h] Linkbases and "Document Enrichment"

Leigh Dodds ldodds at ingenta.com
Wed Jan 29 16:27:31 GMT 2003

> >p.s. stable linking in general is a bit of a hot topic in the STM area, 
> >with features like DOI (http://www.doi.org) and CrossRef 
> >(http://www.crossref.org) 
> >being commonly used. These are probably off-topic here though.
> Might not be off-topic.  What's STM?

Scientific, Technical, Medical publishing. 

In short both libraries and publishers want the material as cross referenced 
as possible: the libraries so they can improve their services to users, the 
publishers so they can sell more stuff.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is basically a URN attached to some piece 
of content that can be run through a resolver (CrossRef) that knows the 
current location of the material so the punter can be, er, punted off to 
the right location. Publishers assign their own DOIs and publish relevant 
metadata to the resolution service. Pretty standard stuff, except there's 
a tension thats introduced here: the librarians may have an alternate 
view of where you should end up.

They'd prefer it that you were directed to where to get the physical copy, 
or a preferred document supplier, than necessarily where the publisher 
might want to send you. For example the library might have a relationship 
with a supplier, or can get material free from certain locations because 
they have a subscription. A library may choose to use another resolver thats 
maintained locally, e.g. an SFX server (http://www.sfxit.com/) that allows 
them to control the endpoints for a link or otherwise offer a menu of destinations.

So a link isn't just a link in this regard, depending on who you are and where 
you're coming from you might end up in different locations. It's known as 
the "appropriate copy" problem in STM circles.

Another attempt to improve linking in this space involves defining a standard 
for encoding citation metadata in a URL (http://www.sfxit.com/openurl/openurl.html) 
this makes links slightly more portable by allowing alternative base URLs to 
be used.

What I find interesting is this mixture of standardised link formats and user 
preferences. Especially given the flurry of interest spawned by Jon Udell's 
LibraryLookup experiments which a predicated on recognisable metadata 
(ISBN) in a URL. While some of the above leaves the user somewhat at the 
mercy of a librarian or publisher, I'm interested in letting the user express 
their preferences. I rambled a bit about this a while ago 
(http://weblogs.userland.com/eclectic/stories/storyReader$372) and today 
stumbled across something that offers just that 

Probably not really any new tech here, but maybe an interesting perspective of 
linking out in the wild.




Leigh Dodds
Home: http://www.ldodds.com
XML-DEV Blog: http://weblogs.userland.com/eclectic
Personal Blog: http://www.ldodds.com/blog/
"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Ockham

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