Saturday, February 25, 2006

Make a case for URI microformat

The URI microformat, as suggested in unapi specification by Dan Chud, will be very interesting to library application. Actually it takes advantage of OpenURL and existing link resolver solution.

URI microformat defines a convention of plugging URI metadata in HTML page.

<span class=”unapi-uri” title=”info:pmid/12345678”>PMID 12345678</span>

If URI microformat is adopted and widely used, say in major online bookstore, or in faculty/researcher's homepage, now a microformat-aware application (be a greasemonkey script, or a web service) can grab the identifier and point to your local OpenURL resolver, you immediately get the copy from local library.

In this sense, the URI microformat is very similar to COINS, but it's much simpler and cleaner, anyone can understand and use it, and its aplication can be beyond traditional research library. e.g. in a public library, you can use amazon as catalog and immediately check if it's available in local collection.

Maybe the rosy picture is too opmistic, but I think this thing is something really valuable.


Blogger Jeff Young said...

Here is the equivalent COinS representation:

<span class="Z3988" title="url_ver=Z39.88-2004
&amp;rft_id=info:pmid/12345678">PMID 12345678</span>

I would argue that the savings between this COinS representation and the URI microformat is minimal, and that COinS provides a great number of additional capabilities that URI microformat can't support. Since COinS can't be dismissed for this reason, it doesn't make sense to me to create yet another standard that does the same thing with so little savings.

I will grant that the COinS is less intuitive, but my argument (which I invariably lose) is that interoperability makes it worth the small cost in this instance.

7:51 AM  

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