Inherently Social, Decentralised, and for Everyone

Inherently Social, Decentralised, and for Everyone

SWIB-2023, Berlin, 2023-09-12, #swib23 (openbiblio, mastodon)

Sarven's avatar Sarven Capadisli @csarven

Autonomy & Universal Access


self publishing entails that an actor can register identifiers for their content, shape and store data where they have access to, set access control[s], and use preferred applications to achieve them.

Web; a social machine

anyone being (technically) allowed to say anything about anything

Degree of control for identifiers, data, and applications

W3C Linked Data Notifications design principles

Data on the Web should not be locked in to particular systems or be only readable by the applications which created it. Users should be free to switch between applications and share data between them.


The aims of the Solid project are in line with those of the Web itself: empowerment towards an equitable, informed and interconnected society. Solid adds to existing Web standards to realise a space where individuals can maintain their autonomy, control their data and privacy, and choose applications and services to fulfil their needs.

LOD Cloud Social Networking

Why not both?

Solid Protocol ActivityPub
Identifiers URI owner Implementation specific
Data Personal Social objects
Applications Domain-centric Social activity-centric
Protocols Client-Server, .. Client-Server, Server-Server
Authentication Solid-OIDC, HttpSig* Implementation specific
Authorization WAC, ACP Implementation specific
Notifications LDN, WebSockets LDN*

Containers and Collections

A collection of [..] resources that responds to client requests for creation, modification, and/or enumeration of its linked members and documents [..].
[..A] space of URIs that affords agents controlled access to resources.
An [..] endpoint to which notifications are sent or from which they are consumed.
[A] stream contain[ing] activities the user has published.

Compatibility 🀷🏽 Interoperability

Standards are like wine 🍷

Standards are like wine: some will age well, and others spoil. β€” Henry Story

Adoption in the wild takes time and influenced by many variables.

  • Standards evolve;
  • shaped by cooperation
  • adherence to principles (process, consensus, transparency, balance, openness);
  • collective empowerment;
  • availability;
  • voluntary adoption.

Social and Technical Decisions

DecisionsStandards are made by those who show up.

But.. it is a privilege to have the opportunity to show up.

NIH πŸ™ˆ πŸ™‰ πŸ™Š FUD

What Can Internet Standards Do?

  • Bolster Legitimacy
  • Focus Discussion of Centralization
  • Target Proprietary Functions
  • Enable Switching
  • Control Delegation of Power
  • Enforce Boundaries
  • Consider Extensibility Carefully

Social Implications

  • How can harassment and abuse be prevented or handled?
  • How would moderation or civil discourse work?
  • How can a resource prohibit or consent to be annotated at fine granularity?
  • How can the conditions to annotate and notify be indicated and monitored?
  • How can a resource’s annotation policy and rules be respected?
  • What may be the conditions to associate different identities?
  • How can domain expertise be factored in?

Identity and Profiles

Circumstances under which profiles are used or shared:

  • Communication and use of multiple profiles for different purposes.
  • Connectivity of multiple profiles and cross-context recognition.
  • Cascade of profile information.
  • Persistence and evolution of profiles.
  • Anonymous and pseudonymous profiles.
  • Self-controlled and third-party-controlled identities.
  • Information for the purpose of verification, authentication, authorization purposes.
  • Compilation of preferences, choices, activities and interactions of an agent.
  • Social graph for different kinds of relationships between agents.
  • Factors specific to physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural, social, or behavioural identity.

Interplay of Profiles, Articles, Annotations, and Notifications

Scientific Communication


An Ocean of Standards 🌊

.., Activity Vocabulary, ActivityPub, Authorization Capabilities for Linked Data, Data Privacy Vocabulary, Event Notifications in Value-Adding Networks, Fedora API Specification 1.0, Linked Data Platform, Linked Data Notifications, Memento, Open Digital Rights Language, Solid Notifications Protocol, Solid Protocol, The Cognitive Characteristics Ontology, The PROV Ontology, vCard Ontology, Web Access Control, Web Annotation Data Model, ..

Forces and Functions in Specifications

What Role Could Libraries Play? πŸ€”

  • Share use cases.
  • Propose and assess solutions, e.g., moderation, specification extensions.
  • Highlight emerging patterns and share implementation experience.
  • Identify lacking standards or gaps in standardisation.
  • Host storage/nodes for public good.
  • ..
  • What do you think?