Re: New Ranking of Central and Institutional Repositories

From: Mark Doyle <doyle_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 14:40:34 -0500


On Feb 12, 2008, at 4:38 PM, Arthur Sale wrote:

> This brings me to the second point: Repositories were not set up to
> provide linkage, and if they were to be in the deep web apart from
> being harvestable, their utility would be only slightly weakened.
> Indeed this is exactly the situation with most of the PhD thesis
> repositories in Australia. The federated site is open to the Web,
> and a very few thesis sites like my university's, but most
> university repositories are simply in the deep web, accessed only by
> the federated harvester. This is the Australasian Digital Theses
> Program, also listed in the Webometrics top 200. I haven't heard 30+
> universities complaining about the loss of links.

I think this is poor design. Depending on bookmarked URLs and 'browse
by name' is a rather fragile infrastructure. One of the reasons that a
central repository like is so successful is because
Ginsparg, in his wisdom, came up with short, somewhat meaningful
identifiers (new arXiv ids are now slightly less than ideal, but at
least you can tell right away when something was first entered into
the repository) AND provided for the ubiquitous linking to
via the /abs/ID URL. These URLs have been stable since they were
introduced in 1994 when the web interface was introduced (even after
the -> transition). This has allowed the arXiv
staff to insert clickable links into the PDFs and people to trivially
link to the arXiv version of a work. On the publisher side,
considerable effort has been put into introducing DOIs which again
make it easy to provide interlinking between scholarly articles. Some
publishers (like APS) have easy to create DOIs from the usual
(journal, volume, page) metadata (or even URLs that don't depend on a
DOI), while others are more opaque. CrossRef levels the playing field
though and makes DOIs easily discoverable. In any case, one should not
underestimate the usefulness of having simple identifiers that map
algorithmically to permanent URLs.


Mark Doyle
Assistant Director, Journal Information Systems
The American Physical Society
Received on Wed Feb 13 2008 - 19:48:34 GMT

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