[uf-discuss] citation microformat encodings

Ross Singer ross.singer at library.gatech.edu
Mon Jan 30 07:18:21 PST 2006

Nevermind -- I'm in.

Sorry about that.

Ross Singer wrote:

> Ok, I tried to do this, but I can't make a login to the wiki (keeps 
> complaining that I am not using a valid user name).
> So, uh... yeah.
> -Ross.
> Ryan King wrote:
>> On Jan 25, 2006, at 9:02 AM, Ross Singer wrote:
>> Ross,
>> Could you add the description below (or a short version of it, or a  
>> link to something similar) to http://microformats.org/wiki/citation- 
>> formats? (under the OpenURL section)
>> Also, while I'm at it, someone needs to move/merge this [http:// 
>> microformats.org/wiki/citation-brainstorming#OpenURL] and this  
>> [http://microformats.org/wiki/citation-brainstorming#MARC_.2F_MODS_. 
>> 2F_Dublin_Core] into http://microformats.org/wiki/citation-formats.
>> Thanks,
>> ryan
>>> One of the obstacles in explaining OpenURL is the discongruity  
>>> between "the spec" and "the implementation".  While, yes, what you  
>>> see in practice is a url with the metadata encoded as arguments in  
>>> the query string, this is merely a representation of the  
>>> "ContextObject" intended to be sent to a link resolver to permit  
>>> services based on the contextobject.
>>> Let's back up, shall we?
>>> An OpenURL consists of two independent parts:  the ContextObject  
>>> (or the bibliographic metadata surrounding a citation) and the  
>>> location of resolver to parse the metadata and present contextual  
>>> services based on said metadata.  The (very real) problem is that  
>>> the term "OpenURL" is also used as a catch-all for all of the  
>>> independent parts and how they work.  This is mainly because it's a  
>>> catchier term than "Z39.88", which is the NISO standard all this is  
>>> based upon.
>>> So, when Tantek pointed out that this is very non-human readable  
>>> url string, that is a *particular representation* of the OpenURL  
>>> ContextObject (which is referred to as "San Antonio Profile 1" --  
>>> more commonly SAP1 -- and is represented in Key Encoded Values --  
>>> KEVs).  This "representation" is independent of the ContextObject  
>>> (from here on known as CO) itself and is only intended to permit  
>>> the CO to be transmitted via an HTTP GET request (more on this in a  
>>> bit).
>>> There is also SAP2, which is an XML representation of the CO (see:   
>>> http://alcme.oclc.org/openurl/servlet/OAIHandler? 
>>> verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=oai_dc&identifier=info:ofi/ 
>>> fmt:xml:xsd:ctx and the "Implementation Guidelines" link from that  
>>> page for more information) and is a much more human readable  
>>> format.  This still (obviously) falls outside the scope of  
>>> microformats, but makes the point that encoding has nothing to do  
>>> with the CO itself.  They are just agreed upon means of conveying  
>>> the CO to enable machines act upon them consistently.
>>> The ContextObject could be conveyed just as easily in XHTML using  
>>> attributes, as long as the terms follow the vocabulary defined in  
>>> the OpenURL framework.  The important thing to focus on here is the  
>>> ContextObject -- the address of the link resolver /is/ institution- 
>>> specific and should be handled by a user's (or machine's)  
>>> activating agent.
>>> However, the link resolver is still a very important component to  
>>> this whole process.  Getting users "appropriate copy" is a very  
>>> real (and very difficult) problem that libraries are trying to  
>>> solve.  Link resolvers are a pretty efficient means of overcoming  
>>> this hurdle, so it would make sense to mark up bibiographic  
>>> citations in a way that link resolvers can easily parse.
>>> I hope this clears up a little bit of the confusion.
>>> -Ross.
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