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Comment #00275 - Could JATS allow the xml:base attribute? - z39.96-2012.pdf

Comment 275
Addressed (Unresolved)
ANSI/NISO Z39.96-2012, JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite (version 1.0) (Revision 0)
Comment Submitted by
Chris Maloney
2013-06-13 07:59:30
This comment stems from a discussion on GitHub, at https://github.com/elifesciences/lens/issues/6, in which the concern was raised that there's no standard way to find a figure (for example) that corresponds to an article, when retrieving the article XML from the publisher's website (or PMC, for that matter).

JATS includes the xlink:href attribute, which, in the tag library, is specified as "An address or identifier that permits an XLink application to find a remote resource, for example, a URI". But in the XLink specification, this *must* be a URI, and "if the URI reference is relative, its absolute version must be computed by the method of [XML Base] before use." In other words, XLink specifies how to determine the absolute URI from this attribute value.

Of course, whether a publisher or anyone else would "honor" that absolute URI, by making it dereferenceable, and providing the requested resource there, is a separate question.

But the problem is that JATS doesn't provide any means for a provider of articles in JATS XML to specify how to resolve relative URIs, even if they wanted to, because it doesn't allow the xml:base attribute. If JATS were to allow this attribute, it would provide a means for publishers to declare the canonical URL for the document, and an unambiguous way to resolve xlink:href attribute values.

I'd also suggest that the definition of xlink:href attribute in JATS should be changed to specify that it *must* be a URI, rather than "for example, a URI". URIs (absolute and relative) provide all the needed semantics, but have important constraints (for example, on allowed characters). Specifying that they must be a URI would simplify the burden on processing tools, and help interoperability. (As mentioned before, the question of whether the URI is dereferenceable is a completely separate issue, so saying this value must be a URI doesn't impose any extra burden on anyone in that regard.)
Submitter Proposed Solution
Jeffrey Beck
2013-11-27 11:18:09

Thank you for your comment. The JATS Standing Committe has addressed your request. Non-normative supporting materials including schemas with these additions in place should be available soon.

The Standing Committee's recommendation is:

• Add the attribute @xml:base to every element in the Tag Suite.

• Update non-normative documentation for @xlink:href to include reference the W3C XLink recommendation
which states that the value must be a URI.