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Wednesday, January 23 • 4:15pm - 5:00pm
Plenary: Understanding URI Ecosystems

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"No PID is an island, entire of itself"

Idealistic propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, URIs are
neither unambiguous nor self-defining.  A URI's meaning depends on its
context of use and an implicit social contract among its minters,
distributors, servers and users.  Borrowing a term with origins in the
ethnography of the workplace, we can say that URIs depend on a
_community of practice_, the unwitting signatories to such a contract.

In this talk I will argue that as a community commited to promoting
PIDs, we need to understand the implications of this view of URIs,
because it also applies to (at least the actionable forms of) PIDs.

As my title suggests, there is not just one universal community of
practice within which URIs are made effective (c.f. Berners Lee's
"single, global information space"): there are many of them, and they do
_not_ all operate by the same rules.  Making a PID system work,
technically, but more importantly _socially_, so that the virtuous
circle of awareness, adoption and growth kicks in, requires that system
to occupy a viable niche in the space of possibilities afforded by at
least one _URI ecosystem_: a pattern of URI usage and the community of
practice which sustains it.

avatar for Henry Thompson

Henry Thompson

Professor of Web Informatics, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Wednesday January 23, 2019 4:15pm - 5:00pm
Main Stage

Attendees (67)