FAIR Digital Objects & FAIR Signposting

23 June 2023

Following an invitation by the FDO Forum, DANS Honorary Fellow Herbert Van de Sompel held a presentation about the relationship between FAIR Digital Objects and FAIR Signposting. This presentation is available online on Zenodo. We give you a short recap in this article.

With his presentation, Van de Sompel aims to clarify the relationship between FAIR Digital Objects and Signposting. A relationship that may not be obvious because Signposting does not start from an abstract model but rather from a very concrete problem related to how research objects exist on the web: How can a web bot that roams the massive web graph determine whether or not a resource it lands on is part of a Digital Object, and, if it is, how can it travel onwards to other constituent resources of the Digital Object?

FAIR Signposting exposes the topology of a Digital Object on the web using basic off-the-shelf technology. A web bot coming in via the Persistent IDentifier (PID), landing page, content resource, or metadata resource is able to get a picture of the Digital Object and travel onwards to the resource it is interested in. 

Signposting specifies the use of typed web links to interlink resources of a Digital Object and it specifies which link relation types to use to link to which resources. All of this is done in a standards-based manner, with link types drawn from the IANA Link Relation Registry. FAIR Signposting is a detailed implementation guideline that aims for uniformity in the provision of these typed links across repositories.

The presentation further explains the principle of Signposting and shows it schematically. Do you have any questions after viewing the presentation? If so, please contact Herbert Van de Sompel using the form below. 

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Herbert van de Sompel Ph.D.

Honorary fellow