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README.md

Permanent Identifiers for the Web

Build Status

This repository holds the website source code for https://w3id.org/.

The purpose of w3id.org is to provide a secure, permanent URL re-direction service for Web applications. This service is run by the W3C Permanent Identifier Community Group.

Web applications that deal with Linked Data often need to specify and use URLs that are very stable. Entities minting such URLs utilize services such as this one to ensure that applications using their URLs will always be re-directed to a working website. This website operates like a switchboard, connecting requests for information with the true location of the information on the Web. The switchboard can be reconfigured to point to a new location if the old location stops working.

A growing group of organizations has pledged responsibility to ensure the operation of this website. These organizations include Digital Bazaar, 3 Round Stones, OpenLink Software, Applied Testing and Technology, Openspring, and Bosatsu Consulting. They are responsible for all administrative tasks associated with operating the service. The social contract between these organizations gives each of them full access to all information required to maintain and operate the website. The agreement has been set up such that a number of these companies could fail, lose interest, or become unavailable for long periods of time without negatively affecting the operation of the site.

This website operates in HTTPS-only mode to ensure end-to-end security. This means that it may be used for Linked Data applications that require high levels of security such as those found in the financial, medical, and public infrastructure sectors.

All identifiers associated with this website are intended to be around for as long as the Web is around. This means decades, if not centuries. If the final destinations for popular identifiers used by this service fail in such a way as to be a major inconvenience or danger to the Web, the community will mirror the information for the popular identifiers and setup a working redirect to restore service to the rest of the Web.

Adding a Permanent Identifier to w3id.org

For the technically savvy, the preferred way to create the redirect yourself is by following these steps:

  1. Fork the perma-id/w3id.org source code repository.
  2. Add a new re-direct entry. For a simple example, see security/.htaccess
  3. (Optional) Add a README.md detailing contact persons and (a subset of) your permanent identifiers. For an example, see rdw/README.md
  4. Commit your changes and submit a pull request.
  5. w3id.org administrators will review your pull request and merge it if everything looks correct. Once the pull request is merged, the changes go live immediately.

You can also send a request to add a redirect to the public-perma-id@w3.org mailing list. Make sure to include the URL that you want on w3id.org, the URL that you want to redirect to, and the HTTP code that you want to use when redirecting. An administrator will then create the redirect for you.

Guidelines on Identifiers

  1. Do not link-squat. If you are going to claim a permanent identifier, make sure you or your organization intends for it to be around for at least 20+ years.
  2. Make sure the link you redirect to works. If not, we will most likely reject your requested addition.
  3. If you are creating a link to your personal website, please do so under the /people/ subdirectory. A simple redirect should be placed in /people/.htaccess. A complex redirect should be placed under a directory like /people/rubarb/.htaccess.

Link checking

A simple Travis-CI job (see .travis.yml) will extract all https://w3id.org/ URIs from */README.md and check them with linkchecker. In theory, this will catch two kinds of errors:

  1. Following a redirection gives a 404 Not Found
  2. An error in .htaccess causes a 500 Server Error.

Note that this only checks URIs that are listed in the README.md files.

Travis might comment on your Pull Request if this test reveals an error. Check its output logs to ensure the errors are not caused by your modification.

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