the profession of it
the long Quest for Universal
InForMation sHarinG is an age-old objective. Always a challenge in the world of print documents and books, it has become truly daunting as music, movies, im-
ages, reports, designs, and other infor-
mation entities are represented digitally
and offered on the Internet. Numerous
issues contribute to the complexity,
such as file creation, formats, identi-
fier systems (local and global), access
controls, privacy controls, interoper-
ability, searching, and rights manage-
ment. The complexity is multiplied in
the global Internet by the sheer amount
of information available for access, the
potential number of connections and
reference chains, and jurisdictional is-
sues. Reducing the complexity of infor-
mation management in that universe
has been a very long quest.
Resolving a Doi to a uRL or file name in the aCm Digital Library.
The access protocol consists of four
steps. To initialize, ACm generates a
doI for a newly published object.
doI registration 0
The doI consists of ACm’s unique number ( 10.1145) followed by a unique
string chosen by ACm. ACm registers the doI with the doI registry (step
0). Thereafter a user can take the doI from a citation and ask the registry to
resolve it (step 1). The registry returns the url of the object in the ACm digital
library (step 2) . The ACm digital library resolver directs the access to the
object specified by the doI (step 3).
Early attempts at universal
Vannevar Bush is credited with the
first visionary speculation about universal access to documents in 1945
(“As we may think,” Atlantic Monthly).
He proposed a hypothetical machine
called Memex that stored documents
on microfilm and allowed annotations and cross links. Many subsequent designers credit Bush with the
inspirations for their work in computer networks.
The first among these designers
was Ted Nelson, who, as early as 1960,
proposed a networked system called
Xanadu, which aimed at information
sharing with a simple user interface.
Nelson introduced topics such as hypertext, hyperlinks, automatic version
management, automatic inclusion of
referenced items, and small payments
to authors for use of their materials.
In the middle 1960s, Doug En-gelbart started the Augmentation
Research Lab at SRI with the dream
of amplifying collective intelligence
through computer networks. Taking
some inspirations from Bush and Nel-