[OAI-general] info URI scheme update

herbert van de sompel herbertv@lanl.gov
Thu, 15 Jan 2004 10:51:20 -0700

<Apologies for cross-posting>

NISO-Sponsored INFO URI Scheme is Information Gateway to the Web Publishing and 
Library Communities Join Forces to Facilitate and Expedite Representation of 
Standard Identifiers such as Library of Congress Control Numbers on the Web.

Bethesda, MD - January 14, 2004 - Working under the auspices of the National 
Information Standards Organization (NISO), a joint task force of the publishing 
and library communities has developed and published a Uniform Resource 
Identifier (URI) scheme aimed at the identification of information assets. 
Information assets should be interpreted rather broadly to include, for example, 
documents and terms from classification schemes.  The INFO URI scheme is a 
consistent and reliable way to represent and reference such standard identifiers 
as Dewey Decimal Classifications on the Web so that these identifiers can be 
"read" and understood by Web applications.  Led by four NISO members and 
associates-Los Alamos National Laboratory, Online Computer Library Center 
(OCLC), Elsevier, and Manifest Solutions-the initiative builds on earlier 
consultations with representatives from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and 
the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). An Internet-Draft for the INFO URI 
scheme was first published Sept. 25th, 2003 and a revision published Dec. 5th, 2003
(see <http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-vandesompel-info-uri-01.txt>.

Herbert Van de Sompel, Digital Library Research & Prototyping at the Los Alamos 
National Laboratory's Research Library, stated, "A good example of the problem 
that the INFO URI scheme solves involves PubMed identifiers: unique numbers 
assigned to records in the PubMed database maintained by the National Center for 
Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of the National Library of Medicine.  PubMed 
identifiers originated prior to the Web, so they are not URIs. As such they do 
not exist naturally in the Web infrastructure because the Web only recognizes 
URIs as a means to identify information resources.  So Web applications cannot 
use PubMed identifiers, and hence cannot reference PubMed records that are 
identified by them.  The solution is to turn PubMed identifiers into URIs.  The 
INFO Registry enables the registration of public namespaces of standard 
identifiers; NCBI registered its PubMed identifier namespace under the INFO 
Registry-their namespace is pmid-so we can now talk about the record with the 
PubMed identifier '12376099' in URI terms as <info:pmid/12376099."

"The goal of INFO is to act as a bridging mechanism to the Web by providing a 
lightweight means for registering public namespaces used for the identification 
of information assets," said Tony Hammond, Advanced Technology Group at 
Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical 
information products and services.  "We see INFO as an enabling technology for 
the library, publishing and media communities-a way to facilitate and speed the 
growth of the Web as a truly global information place beyond a basic document 
repository. The Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and NASA 
are among those organizations that have already registered public namespaces 
with the INFO Registry."

"There are different ways to represent these identifiers on the Web," explained 
Pat Harris, NISO's Executive Director, "but the INFO URI scheme really 
simplifies matters. As a Web user, you aren't likely to see the scheme in action 
on your screen-for example, <info:lccn/2002022641, because it's an 
under-the-hood way of communicating the identity of an information asset to a 
Web application."

The INFO Registry is now available online at <http://info-uri.info/> for 
receiving new registrations. This Registry contains all the information needed 
by Web applications to make use of INFO namespaces. Each Registry entry defines 
the namespace, the syntax, and normalization rules for the representing INFO 
identifiers as URIs, and gives full contact information for the namespace 
authority for that entry. Moreover, the INFO Registry is readable by both humans 
and machines alike.

For more information about the INFO URI scheme, see the FAQ at
<http://info-uri.info/registry/docs/misc/faq.html> .

About NISO

NISO, a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards 
Institute (ANSI), identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical 
standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital 
environment. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the 
full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, 
storage, metadata, and preservation. www.niso.org

Press Contact: Maryann Karinch (pr@karinch.com), T:  970-577-8500

* Both Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) and Uniform Resource Names (URNs) are 
types of URIs.  While URLs are locators, or addresses, on the Web, URNs are 
names on the Web.  The INFO URI scheme is a special type of URN which 
complements regular URNs but is designed to be simpler and more convenient both 
to manage and to use.

Herbert Van de Sompel
digital library research & prototyping
Los Alamos National Laboratory - Research Library
+ 1 (505) 667 1267 / http://lib-www.lanl.gov/~herbertv/

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