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IUCr Document Identifiers: for your information

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <epc-l@iucr.org>
  • Subject: IUCr Document Identifiers: for your information
  • From: Brian McMahon <bm@iucr.org>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 10:01:36 +0100 (BST)
One of the requirements for an electronic document delivery system is a
means of associating a specific identifier with the document required. This
requirement has provoked enormous quantities of discussions within the
electronic publishing community, and equally vast numbers of proposals,
standards, pseudo-standards, counterproposals... We have recently looked at
the problem largely from the perspective of generating a unique identifier for
all of our published articles (at the very least to label them within an
extended 50+-year table of contents).

In fact it becomes clear that many of the proposed standards for document
identifiers work on different assumptions of what constitutes a "document";
and that indeed there are arguments for different identifiers to suit
different purposes. What we are therefore proposing is to build a "Published
Items database" (pidb) that will operate under the same RDBMS as the working
iucrdb production database, but to which will be transferred details of every
paper once published. This database will correlate unique identifiers under
a variety of schemes for the documents that we can make available
electronically, at whatever level of granularity is appropriate for any
particular application.

We shall then build a front end to this database which will act as a
document identity resolver, eating up any potentially valid identifier and
spitting out a specific file, document selection menu, or even - potentially
- order form, as required.

Some background discussions are available at the URL
for anyone who is interested.


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