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Development of the site and content ceased because of the withdrawal of JISC funding for the Information Support Centre at UKOLN from August 2013, which was announced in October 2013. As a result, this blog is no longer being updated and comments have been switched off on all previous posts.

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A brief history...

Instant messaging has been around on the Internet for longer than the World Wide Web. In its earliest, purest (and, it's probably fair to say, crudest) form, it was possible to use the Unix command line tool write to output a message to another user's terminal, provided that they had previously typed mesg y (i.e. messaging yes), or indeed to directly echo or even cat the contents of a file to another terminal.

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It has been explained elsewhere what the difference between URIs and URLs is. The type of URL that one generally sees is an HTTP URL. You can think of the family of URIs rather like in the diagram below, showing some of the most commonly encountered URIs (not by any means a complete list).

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Why do identifiers matter for research?

Imagine that you are a senior manager in an institution within the UK Higher Education sector with responsibilities for research: you have read some basic details about unique researcher identifiers and perhaps institutional identifiers. However, it may not be immediately apparent just how important these issues are, which may seem on the face of it to be a relatively superficial and/or trivial organisational matter. Clearly, any such strategic decision-maker will long have been aware of the demands of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and its predecessor the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), in which successful reporting of the best research outputs of university departments is crucial to the on-going funding of the institution. This is particularly central to the work of research-led universities, which is an increasingly competitive sector: even universities that formerly focussed more on teaching than research are increasingly aware of the need to drive up standards of quality research in order to secure additional funding.

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Microservices: are they all that new?

Recently there has been something of a revival of interest in a small-scale development approach towards software design for repositories: microservices. This is far from an entirely new idea but seems to have been somewhat slow to develop in practice, even to date; a useful summary of the approach was given by Neil Jacobs back in 2010.

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What need is there for unique identifiers?

Put in relatively non-technical language, there is an increasing concern in information science in general to uniquely identify different things, organisations or people that could otherwise be confused, whether on the Internet or in the physical world. In technical terms, these are all referred to as resources (even if people might find it vaguely demeaning in normal language to be considered as such).

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Many JISC-funded projects are involved in the development of important aspects of the technological infrastructure which will support teaching and learning, research and administrative activities across the sector. Other projects may be developing digital content for use across the sector.

But how robust if the technical infrastructure and how sustainable with the content and the services be? Such issues will be dependent on factors such as standards which are used and sustainable business models. But an additional important factor is the persistency of Internet domain names.

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On the 21-23 September 2011, I attended the Eleventh International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, known as DC-2011 to its friends but #dcmi11 to the true elite. The National Library of the Netherlands (KB) in The Hague made a pleasant setting for the event, although it was perhaps too small.

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The API draft is now available for public viewing and covers:

  • Levels of privacy and other contextual terminology.
  • Public query API by way of illustrative HTTP query dialogues.
  • Protected Data query via OAuth.
    • OAuth Workflow is illustrated in some depth

This is a pre-release of the API; it is nearly there, but it would be foolish to assume that the API will not change if any difficulties arise or if a better way is agreed upon.

Google Doc version of API:


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10:00 Welcome and what’s new – Howard Ratner, ORCID Chair (Slides [PPTX 2.55Mb])

Talk discussed:

Key quote “ORCID will work to support the creation of a permanent, clear and unambiguous record of scholarly communication by enabling reliable attribution of authors and contributors”

Re-statement of the 10 ORCID principles

Various demographics and participant statistics

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Dr. Radut