Presentation Open Access

Understanding URI Ecosystems

Thompson, Henry S

PIDapalooza 2019 keynote address

"No PID is an island, entire of itself"

Identifiers are used and hence understood differently in different contexts

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.

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.

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