A sustainable URL shortener for science
Emerging infrastructures for scientific research such as Zenodo and ORCiD offer persistent identification of data, software, publications, people, and institutions. Publications, however, often contain links to URLs on the internet, e.g., to project or software homepages, or specific query results on search or visualisation platforms. E.g., the ANNIS search infrastructure for linguistic multi-layer corpora lets the user create persistent links to actual search results. However, as instances of platforms or whole services die or move, and homepages change, such links are prone to break. This makes it harder to verify the results presented in scientific publications. A possible solution would be to use a facade for links, e.g., a URL shortener, which allows the user to change the target of the shortened URL. Some research institutions already provide URL shorteners, but usually only for links within their domain, e.g.,
hu-berlin.de for the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. If resources are moved to another institution, the shortened URL will break and is thus not suitable for publication. A sustainable, institution-agnostic URL shortener for the scientific domain would allow - e.g., via Shibboleth - to create short URLs for publication and change target links after their creation. Targets could possibly be restricted to domains of institutions within the Shibboleth space, as well as manually registered institutions.