This is sent from the Pidapalooza event in Reykjavik, Iceland, and is a short collection of notable things I learnt or which attracted my attention.

Firstly, what IS PIDapalooza[1]? Well, it’s all about persistent identifiers, but don’t let that put you off! Another way of putting it is that it’s a way of finding things scientific on the Web. Not just publications, but conferences, social media, teaching, research datasets, infrastructure, grants, organizations, instruments, scientific objects and samples and no doubt much more. These (will) live in an inter-connected eco-system, and so the idea goes, will become an integral part of how a scientist accumulates and disseminates information nowadays. Yes, the conference itself has its own PID: 10.5438/11.0001  and the individual talks will also appear as both a collection and with their own  PID in the near future.

  1. The first example comes from WikiData, a collection of carefully curated data, from which can be dynamically assembled say a periodic table of the elements. All the data here is included from other objects, and everything is referenced by its PID. Since it’s all assembled from data, if say the name of element 118 is assigned, then it will automatically be absorbed into this presentation.
  2. This next example proved highly contentious, but is included here anyway. It is templated PIDs, as in which allows navigation to a particular part of an object referenced by the PID. In this case a time code for a movie, but it might be say an active site in a protein, or a key atom or group in a molecular complex for example.  This might never happen (for reasons only the computer scientists currently understand!) but it does show one way in which the humble DOI might evolve.
  3. exists for registering data types. It has almost no chemistry at the moment, but perhaps it should have! 
  4. There was a great deal about  ORCIDs, and the ways in which uses of this particular  PID are evolving.  For example, the next big effort is to use the ORCID system for organisations.  You will find my ORCID at the top of this post.
  5. PIDs are also being mooted for instruments. The idea is that instrumental capabilities, settings, calibration etc are often an integral part of the data acquisition for a project. So if data is generated using such a device, why not quote its  PID in any derived article so that others can more easily replicate a particular experiment in their own laboratory.
  6. A quote by one of the speakers was attributed to Bill Gates around 1997 “We need  banking. We don’t need banks anymore” (think how this might apply to 2016. Was he correct?).  This was followed by straw men such as: “We need publications. We don’t need publishers anymore”. Or “We need archiving. We don’t need libraries anymore”. Just like Gates’ own quote, the reality is of course far more complex.
  7. And PID fatigue;  I hope you are not getting too much of that at the moment.

There are lots more I have learnt which I need to fix/enhance/address in our own experiments in the use of PIDs in chemistry, so I have better get on with it now!


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One Response to “Pidapalooza!”

  1. Henry Rzepa says:

    The date and location of the second Pidapalooza conference has been announced (22-23 January, 2018) in Girona, Spain.

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