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IDF Members Meeting
14th June 2005
The Annual IDF Members' Meeting took place on 14 June 2005 in Bologna, Italy. Copies of the presentations are available below.
53 people, from 33 organisations, attended the IDF annual meeting held in Bologna, site of the oldest university in Europe. Thanks to the hospitality of our host MEDRA we enjoyed an excellent day of events in a magnificent setting, which allowed for networking and discussion during the day and at the evening social event, as well as the formal presentations. As usual, about half the participants were non-members, some attending for the first time, and the meeting focused mainly on applications and updates on progress. Internal matters were dealt with in the related strategy and Board meetings.
In the Directors Review, Norman Paskin opened the meeting by reminding participants of two long-term and consistent themes which the IDF has maintained throughout its existence since 1998:
  1. The "three track" programme of development, in which an initial track of an initial application of Handle technology (a single URL redirection) is gradually supplemented by a second track of a full implementation using multiple resolution and a managed metadata component; and a third track of activity monitoring and outreach to other standards efforts and consortia;
  2. The development and migration of an organizational model, from an initial "members-only" supporting structure to an "operating federation" of Registration Agencies; each of these structures has different drivers (development spend versus cost efficiency) and the IDF is currently half way through this migration, which has brought inevitable tensions in organisational structure.
This year's focus was on two areas:
  1. Strategy review - is growth sufficient? During the preceding year, we have seen continued growth of DOIs, RAs, and prefixes; and have seen the development of a significant new sector of use in DOIs for scientific data with the appointment of the TIB agency. Nevertheless we still need to grow into other sectors, and the modest growth in DOIs of most RAs means that underlying income is only now balancing costs - leaving us vulnerable to problems, particularly if some RAs fail and (given some unexpected legal costs in 2004) still not generating a surplus. This has led to a strategic review, and a proposal from existing RAs to restructure the organisation to focus on short term improvement. This calls for a reduction in central costs and activities, with a move to a Managing Agent rather than central IDF staff to accompany more cautious forecasts of growth to 2009. This will save costs in the long term, focus on enabling current RAs to generate more DOIs, provide only limited outreach to new sectors (and avoid more RAs in the same sectors). This consolidation step is appropriate for the IDF's current stage of development; the trick will be to understand the strategic implications and plan for how any limitations can be worked around. In 2001, the economic climate required a substantial cut back in planned IDF activities; a restructuring at this point could equally be a step forward in focusing effort and lead to a leaner fitter organization, recognizing that IDF is now moving from a "development" focus to an "operational" focus.
  2. Finalising the DOI system: demonstrating the added value of the DOI system. The added value focus of the DOI, now described in the latest DOI Factsheet ("Value added by the DOI system" Version 1.1) was felt to be a useful underpinning of future practical applications. Codifying this through the completion of a core DOI specification which allows the full implementation (Multiple resolution and structured management of metadata), which is being progressed through formal standardization, is a key task. The process of doing so has brought a renewed emphasis on intellectual property concerns, which has resulted in a formalization of an IP patent policy for RAs.
In a second session presented by the RAWG, some selected uses of DOI were demonstrated.
  • TIB, the first DOI Registration agency for scientific primary data, reported an enthusiastic response to its launch, with an initial 200,000 datasets already registered and an expected 1million by the end of the year; and the aim of widening the coverage in 2006, to become the registrant for any scientific content that is a result of community funded research.
  • The Publications Office of the EC (OPOCE) reported significant further interest, particularly in developing DOI-related rights management tools.
  • Eleonet, a learning objects initiative with collaboration by MEDRA, CAL and Nielsen Bookdata, demonstrated the potential of collaboration among DOI RAS to mutual benefit.
  • OECD, a customer of the agency TSO, gave an excellent presentation of their use of DOIs with the aim of each table or graph in an OECD publication containing a StatLink based on a DOI leading to an Excel file of data underlying the tables & graphs.
A panel session discussed a number of further potential types of applications and led to a discussion on the balance between individual RA efforts and the generic tools provided by IDF (such as the Adobe plug-in for resolution, the AP framework for managing multiple resolution, and the data dictionary for managing semantic interoperability). There was a recognition that practical applications were the way forward, building on these underlying tools.
In the afternoon session, Mark Bide of Rightscom presented a for the future need, and use, of persistent identifiers in the area of licensing -- a practical issue now coming to the fore in many sectors. Norman Paskin summarised the excellent progress made with standards activities, including the completion of the revision of the NISO DOI syntax standard; the next steps with the MPEG rights data dictionary following the approval of IDF as the registry authority; and the acceptance of DOI System overall as an ISO work item. Ed Pentz summarised the reasons for, and content of, the IDF patent policy; and Norman Paskin described related new developments with the launch of a Handle licence for use with the Grid technology.
Feedback from the meeting participants indicated that the meeting was well received: comments from participants are still welcome. We plan to continue the "open" invitation theme and the focus on applications in future meetings. Equally important, the opportunity for networking and discussion was a valuable feature of this meeting.
Session 1: (Chair: Jonathan Clark)
9.30 Host's welcome, Mario Rinaldi, MEDRA President
9.40 Chairman's welcome, Jonathan Clark, Chairman of IDF
9.50 Director's Report, Norman Paskin
(will include report on Strategy Review)
10.20 Q & A on Session 1
Session 2: RA updates (Chair: Ed Pentz, RA Working Group)
This session has been organised by the RA Working Group
10.30 Technical improvements: proxy distribution and GHS: Chuck Koscher
10.45 New RA plans: TIB: Jan Brase
11:00 New RA plans: OPOCE: Serge Brack
11:15 New RA plans: ELEONET: a joint initiative of mEDRA, Nielsen Book Data and TIB: Piero Attanasio
11.50 Customer focus: OECD's StatLinks: Toby Green
12.10 RA Panel Discussion new applications for the DOI/other industry developments: Julian Sowa/Jose Palmero
Session 3: Future perspectives (Chair: Norman Paskin)
2.30 The possible use of DOI in electronic licensing, Mark Bide, Rightscom (see also Mark Bide, Rights Metadata Standards at last?)
3.10 Digital content distribution and identifiers, Telecom Italia (Speaker TBA)
Session 4: Maintaining the DOI's added value (Chair: Jonathan Clark)
3.30 Standards update
4.00 Intellectual Property issues
Updated 30 November 2004

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