Landing pages support humans that interact with scholarly objects on the web, providing descriptive metadata and links to content. But those pages are not optimized for use by machine agents that navigate the scholarly web. For example, how can a robot determine which links on a landing page lead to content and which to metadata? And, how can a bot distinguish those links from the myriad of other links on the page? Signposting caters to machine agents by providing this information, and more, in a standards-based way, using Typed Links as a means to clarify patterns that occur repeatedly in scholarly portals. As an administrator of platforms that host research outputs (e.g. data repositories, institutional repositories, publisher platforms, etc.), you can help machines to navigate the information systems you manage by implementing some of the Signposting Patterns listed on this site. Or, even better, by implementing the FAIR Signposting Profile that provides concrete recipes aimed at uniformity across systems.
Image courtesy of Patrick Hochstenbach.
Typed links, as used in Signposting, can be provided in
HTTP Link headers,
HTML link elements, and Link Sets.
This example, as well as the examples in the Patterns section of this site, uses the HTTP Link header approach:
Herbert Van de Sompel and Michael L. Nelson are the authors of the paper with DOI https://doi.org/10.1045/november2015-vandesompel; their respective ORCIDs are https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0715-6126 and https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3749-8116. The DOI redirects to the environment managed by the publisher of the paper, specifically to http://www.dlib.org/dlib/november15/vandesompel/11vandesompel.html. The publisher can express authorship information in a machine-friendly way by providing
in a Link header provided in the response to an HTTP HEAD/GET issued against that URL.
The publisher can additionally convey the persistent identifier of the paper by using a
cite-as link. These links allow a bot to follow their nose to find pertinent additional information pertaining to the paper: