Signposting is an approach to make the scholarly web more friendly to machines.
It uses Typed Links in
HTTP Link headers as a means to clarify patterns that occur repeatedly in scholarly portals.
When visiting scholarly portals, readers can easily figure out landing pages, links to bibliographic records, authorship, etc. But, because portals use different conventions to convey such patterns, machines have a hard time finding their way around.
As a portal administrator or operator of scholarly infrastructure, you can change that by implementing some of the Signposting patterns listed on this site. Doing so will allow machines to navigate scholarly portals in a uniform manner. Which will lead to applications that make things easier for readers too.
Image courtesy of Patrick Hochstenbach.
As an example, Herbert Van de Sompel and Michael L. Nelson are the authors of the paper with DOI
their respective ORCIDs are http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0715-6126
CrossRef, the DOI registration agency, can express this authorship
in a Link header provided in the response to an HTTP HEAD/GET issued against https://doi.org/10.1045/november2015-vandesompel:
There are several reasons why the use of HTTP Link headers is appealing for scholarly portals. The headers approach can be used for resources of any media type, not just HTML. Hence, images, datasets, PDFs, etc. can all uniformly use the same approach to clarify patterns. Also, headers are accessible using HTTP HEAD requests that return only transaction metadata, not content. As such, headers can be obtained for massive resources, such as big data sets or high resolution images, without actually downloading these resources. In a similar way, HTTP HEAD requests could be used to obtain headers for restricted content, including paywalled articles.