Work Package 2 of Telematics for Libraries project BIBLINK (LB 4034)
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The evaluation shows that none of the identifiers
meet all the requirements. However, the following identifiers
are still recommended for BIBLINK: ISBN, ISSN, SICI, DOI and URN.
This is a confirmation of the assumption made in section 4.1
Requirement introduction that it would be impossible to recommend
only one identification scheme for BIBLINK.
Several of the recommended identifiers (ISSN, SICI
and URN) fail to meet the requirement of covering all documents
in the scope. As stated earlier this is not a major problem since
the documents in the BIBLINK scope that are not covered by these
schemes will be covered by other schemes.
The ISSN and especially the ISBN have up to now only
been allocated to electronic documents in a limited way. They
have primarily been allocated to off-line documents. The practice
has varied widely according to national guidelines and available
resources. New guidelines will hopefully extend the use of ISBN/ISSN
to all electronic documents, on-line and off-line, serials
and monographs and provide a common practice in all countries.
SICI, ISBN and ISSN are mainly used by traditional
publishers. Spreading and encouraging the use of these identifiers
to «new publishers» will be a challenge that should
be accepted by the national libraries. This might be easiest to
achieve for ISSN/ISBN since these identifiers are represented
by agencies in each country.
The ISSN and the ISBN fail to meet the requirement
of extensibility. This could theoretically become a problem if
ISSN or ISBN were to be assigned to the enormous number of on-line
documents but at the moment there seem to be enough numbers available.
The DOI and the URN are not standards and are both
under development. The requirement for a standard in section 4.3
includes «... a proposed standard that is likely to become
a recognised standard in the near future». Only the future
will show if and when they will become accepted standards, but
looking at the parties involved in both cases it is reasonable
to expect that this will happen in the short term. The national
libraries should encourage further development of these standards
and the use of these identifiers once they have become standards.
We recommend that all documents delivered to the national library in the BIBLINK project must have
been assigned an unique identifier. The following
existing identifiers are recommended: ISBN, ISSN and SICI. Additionally,
the DOI and the URN are recommended if they are available when
the BIBLINK demonstrator is set up.
The national libraries in the BIBLINK project should
encourage the use of existing identifiers (ISSN, ISBN and SICI)
on all electronic documents to all publishers in contact
with the project. This is highly relevant to ISSN and ISBN where
the implementation of the new guidelines needs to be encouraged.
In some countries the national library has the ISSN and ISBN agencies
within their organisation and would be in a good position to influence
the allocation of these numbering schemes.
The BIBLINK project and the national libraries should
encourage international initiatives aiming at developing unique
identification of electronic publications. The URN and the DOI
initiative are such initiatives. The «Internet community»
has been waiting for a solution to the «moving target»
URL problems for a long time. Both systems will provide a unique
identifier connected to a resolution service and both systems
will «grandfather» other identifiers, e.g. SICI, ISSN
and ISBN. This should make wide adoption of the URN and the DOI
very likely. Since the DOI initiative has its origin in the publishing
industry this should make this identifier especially easy to spread
in these circles.
The BIBLINK project will need to follow up and if
possible influence the development of the URN and the DOI. This
will be most relevant for the DOI where a completion of a working
prototype seems to be near at hand and where the development is
taking place in the publishing industry. The national libraries
in the BIBLINK project should be willing to pilot the use of DOI
in bibliographic records. In some cases the national libraries
could be directly involved through their ISBN agencies as current
thinking is that the ISBN agencies will be invited to be DOI registration
agencies. The BIBLINK national libraries could also be involved
by collaboration with publishers piloting DOI.
For both the URN and the DOI the BIBLINK project must watch the development and evaluate the status of the identifiers when the demonstrator is set up.
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