Stuart Weibel’s Making identifiers concrete (so library places and spaces don't have to be) plenary session at VALA 2008 discussed the importance of canonical, well-structured identifiers to fulfilling the role of libraries in the digital future.
- Libraries are trusted sources of information. Search engines are trusted about the same.
- Overwhelming brand image of libraries is books not sources of all types of information. Libraries need a strong, visible brand on the Web.
- Social software is currently fueled by dollars so the rate of innovation & failure is rapid. Important for established institutions to distinguish between trends and trendy.
- Web is great metaphor but perhaps we need something more durable. Libraries identifier structures can provide coherence & context. The can provide scaffolding.
- Broad dissemination of identifiers are the single most compelling means of making library assets persistent and visible on the Web.
- Design parameters for identifiers in the global library community include:
- Persistence: a function of organizational commitment. Most important aspect of an effective identifier system.
- Universal Access & Global Scope: Get global uniqueness for free on the Web. Every URL must be unique.
- Search Engine Optimization: make assets visible in global library using canonical identifiers. Currently lots of identifier schemes results in lack of integration.
- Branding: a URL is a micro-billboard for content.
- Usability: URL should be designed for people as well as machines. Should be speakable and as short as possible.
- Accessibility: for anyone or any application
- Stand alone: attribution, clear intellectual property rights
More details on Stuart's talk can be found on Connecting Librarian: VALA 2008 Conference - Stuart Weibel