...Just to be clear, if a user cuts-and-pastes 'http://collection.britishmuseum.org/object/YCA62958' into an address bar, or a document links directly to that (which I've just done), that should produce a human readable page. I'd like to see that happen without redirection. If you redirect to that same URL with ".html" appended, then authors will cut-and-paste that string into their documents. If a good non-crufty URI exists, that's what should appear in address bars and that's what should stand as the 'permalink'.
Under this consideration, Dominic proposes for the British Museum (http://www.britishmuseum.org/), that all objects of the Museum should be identified on the Semantic Web by the following: http://collection.britishmuseum.org/object/ followed by the "PRN number".
For instance, the Rosetta Stone has the PRN number: YCA62958, hence the "official" URI of the Rosetta stone is: http://collection.britishmuseum.org/object/YCA62958 . This URI should never become direct address of a document.
More generally, URIs should promote unity and overlap, not division, between the "semantic web" and the "plain-old web" (POW).
Section 7 also endorses URIs that have a different domain name from the institution itself, e.g. the "collection." in front of "britishmuseum.org". I don't like that. The reason given is to avoid the implications of name changes in the future. Ugh. Institutions should formally endorse the URIs they mint and make them as simple and short as possible. This decision should be taken at the highest levels of the institution. In the BM's case, that may mean the 25-member Board of Trustees.
Finally, the excellent and useful Europeana is mentioned. I'll take this opportunity to note that while http://europeana.eu/portal/record/00401/034BEA5CC6F88ADC6E7DCF5D7C5FECEA8FF85528.html works, http://europeana.eu/portal/record/00401/034BEA5CC6F88ADC6E7DCF5D7C5FECEA8FF85528 doesn't. It should.
I'd like inform you about our discussion today with Dominic Oldman,
Deputy Head of Information Systems, British Museum, his team and
representatives of the Research Space project
1. It is necessary that museum objects are uniquely identified by
suitable URIs in Semantic Web applications.
2. In order to avoid that everybody invents a new URI for the same
object, there should be one authority known to the whole world that
assigns such a URI.
3. This authority is naturally the museum that keeps the object,
because it is the only institution that can verify that two
different use cases of museum object URIs actually describe the same
4. This URI should be derived in a simple way from the inventory
numbers published in exhibition catalogues, on on-line museum
catalogue access or by asking museum staff, to avoid an error-prone
equivalence matching process.
5. This URI should have a form that enables any museum that wishes
to do so to provide a Linked Open Data service resolving to the
description of that object. Note, that this URI must not be the URL
of an existing document about the object, but it must activate a
standard mechanism prescribed by the Linked Open Data Initiative to
redirect to a document saying what the URI means.
6. This museum object URI will continue be useful for communicating
uniquely about the object, even if the museum never will install an
LoD service, or if the way of dealing with LoD resolution requests
7. The way to create this URI should be the following: The museum
decides a base URL that will be extended by the inventory number of
the object. The base URL could be within the domain name of the main
museum Website, but in order to stay clear of possible name change
of the latter, a new domain name might be advisable. Also, for
larger museums, resolving LoD access requests to object information
may cause some server load, that can more easily be balanced with a
Under this consideration, Dominic proposes for the British Museum
(http://www.britishmuseum.org/), that all objects of the Museum
should be identified on the Semantic Web by the following:
http://collection.britishmuseum.org/object/ followed by the "PRN
For instance, the Rosetta Stone has the PRN number: YCA62958, hence
the "official" URI of the Rosetta stone is:
http://collection.britishmuseum.org/object/YCA62958 . This URI
should never become direct address of a document.
It would be good, if Europeana experts to comment, if they regard is
an adequate approach for Europeana, and could transfer this message
to other museums and providers to follow this practice.
I intend to present this on the CIDOC Conference in Shanghai. I
would be very glad if I and Dominic could get a response within the
next week, if you endorse the procedure, and if you will support us
to spread the practice.
If you need further clarifications, please let me know as soon as
Dr. Martin Doerr | Vox:+30(2810)391625 |
Research Director | Fax:+30(2810)391638 |
| Email: firstname.lastname@example.org |
Center for Cultural Informatics |
Information Systems Laboratory |
Institute of Computer Science |
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH) |
Vassilika Vouton,P.O.Box1385,GR71110 Heraklion,Crete,Greece |
Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl |