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Adrian Dale - Creatifica Associates
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Google Wave – Information Objects in Action

An interesting product was demonstrated at this year’s Google I/O – Google Wave.  The trend from old fashioned “paper centric” e-mail towards full online collaboration takes a leap forward with “wave” building in the best from the web 2.0 era – blogging, social software etc.   The key to it is the Google vision that every information object (picture, person, comment, caption …) should exist once in the cloud with a unique identifier.  Objects can be reused anywhere and whenever they are changed by the originator, they change everywhere they have been used.  This is fantastic for information management but has interesting challenges for records management and information governance.  It is also dependent on the cloud being there of course.  It is scheduled for release at the end of 2009 – perhaps just in time for Online 2009.  Let’s hope so.

Semantic web interest from the big players

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) have recently published their spring edition of Technology Forecast The whole issue is devoted to linked data and the semantic web.  Their are some excellent primer articles and interviews with key players in the field. It is well worth a read and a validation of the stance many of us have been taking for years about URIs being the key to unlock the true power of the web.

How uncool – repository URIs

As part of his efforts to re-promote the concepts of “cool URIs”, Andy Powell has just completed a review of the URI designs for the UK’s university e-repositories.  Given that these repositories are designed to provide persistent access to the output from research programmes, persistent identifiers would seem to be essential.  The results were surprisingly disappointing, with most institutions having committed at least one of the cardinal sins:

  • Building the name of the repository software into their URIs
  • Allowing the use of the underlying technology stack (.aspx, .php, .html) to appear in the URIs
  • Using a non-standard port to access the repository
  • Building the name of an organisational unit into the URI
  • Using a “jazzy” project name as part of the URI (remember the Amazon obidos!)
  • Outsourcing to a third party – losing the institutional focus – and being reliant on 3rd party URIs

How can this have happened?  Why have these organisations not thought through their naming and addressing policy and design rules?  The answer is surprisingly simple.  Most of the people in charge of web implementations have not been sensitised to the importance of addressing – “cool URIs” as Tim Berners-Lee called them in 1998.  I lectured this week in a UK library school and from what I could see, the question of digitial identifiers and  the importance of their effective management featured no where in the curriculum..  And yet what was the ISBN if not the precursor of persistent identifiers?

Your Website is Your API: Quick Wins for Government Data

Knowing my passion for URIs, Peter Winstanley from the Scottish Government brought this article by Jeni Tennison to my attention. She lays out the three key things that public sector web sites need to do using a URI based model to achieve it:

  • identify the data that you control
  • represent that data in a way that people can use
  • expose the data to the wider world
  • She lays out a strong business case and clear examples – so let’s follow them!

    OpenID Features on Digital Planet

    On his eFoundations blog Andy Powell has recently been commenting that the era for OpenID may be dawning and judging by the BBC World Service episode of Digital Planet broadcast on 17th February 2009 he may be right. In this Episode OpenID and Twitter have equal billing – no mean feat!

    I’ve certainly been using the tips pointed to by Andy and now use my URI http://creatifica.com/Adrian.Dale as my OpenID