[open-bibliography] URNs for National Bib Numbers

Ross Singer ross.singer at talis.com
Fri Dec 10 21:04:45 UTC 2010

Apologies if my reply came across as antagonistic to BL's planning
process (it wasn't intended to be), my point was merely that the
longer there is an absence of an official policy here, the greater the
odds of a alternative solution muddying the waters.  If that
alternative gains enough momentum, I think your concerns are extremely


On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 10:59 AM, Deliot, Corine <Corine.Deliot at bl.uk> wrote:
> BNB data has been provided in an open structure to enable
> experimentation.
> The British Library is investigating various platform options for
> hosting the BNB and other datasets as Linked Open Data. Future releases
> of the BNB will include persistent identifiers based on the BNB number
> and we are concerned that the premature assignment of URNs may prejudice
> this activity.
> Corine
> *********************************
> Metadata Standards Analyst
> The British Library
> Boston Spa, Wetherby
> West Yorkshire LS23 7BQ
> e-mail: corine.deliot at bl.uk
> *********************************
> -----Original Message-----
> From: rxs at talisplatform.com [mailto:rxs at talisplatform.com] On Behalf Of
> Ross Singer
> Sent: 2010-12-09 16:22
> To: Deliot, Corine
> Cc: William Waites; List for Working Group on Open Bibliographic Data
> Subject: Re: [open-bibliography] URNs for National Bib Numbers
> On Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 10:03 AM, Deliot, Corine <Corine.Deliot at bl.uk>
> wrote:
>> In any case, I was thinking too narrowly. I don't know if NLS and NLW
> assign their own NBNs (I will try and find out) but in any case they
> could potentially do so, so I think we need to split the national
> namespace just in case.
> I agree - they certainly publish their own bibliographies (at least
> Scotland does, Wales doesn't seem to have anything analogous:
> http://www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=readinglists), although there's no
> indication of any sort of NBN.  Of course that doesn't mean there's
> not some system they use internally (or that some number, based on
> F-code, for instance, couldn't be adopted).
>> What I'd like to know though is if the format Open Bibliography is
> choosing for the (BL) bnb will constrain the BL in the future if/when we
> decide to implement our NBNs as URNs. This is something we've been
> discussing.
> Well, certainly it could force your hand a bit, depending on the
> uptake.  In the absence of an established form, I think it's possible
> that a de facto form could arise, if prevalent enough.
> I think we're at the point where compiling all of the identifiers we
> have about resources is a necessary step for disambiguation and these
> identifiers are going to have to be formatted in unambiguous ways.
>> What is the benefit for Open Bibliography? You've already created an
> identifier for the resource based on the BNB.
> This is true, but it's non-standard.  So we (in this case, "we"
> meaning "Talis") start using the Open Bibliography BNB URIs as the
> identifiers for the BNB in Aspire or Prism (for example): is the BL
> comfortable this (Open Bibliography) being the de facto identifier
> assignment agency for the BNB?  If the Library of Congress were to
> publish their catalog as linked data, how should they represent BNB
> numbers?  What about the Open Library?  As linked library data gains
> momentum, I think we're going to have to have identifiers like these
> in place for people to correctly identify the resources in their
> collections.
> And, again, while URNs are less than ideal from a linked data
> perspective, they are good for providing a consistent and unique
> identifier, which is exactly what we need.
> -Ross.

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