[rfc-i] Google Scholar, ISBN and DOI

John R Levine johnl at taugh.com
Tue May 29 14:12:42 PDT 2012

>> our indexing stinks
> That's true. I tried a few searches in Google Scholar, and the results 
> vary widely per RFC, with many duplicate but not always obviously 
> duplicate results. I think it would help a lot if there weren't so many 
> slightly different versions of each RFC floating around.

Google Scholar documents the way it looks for stuff to index, and the 
problem is that it doesn't recognize the IETF's copies of RFCs as 
Scholar-able documents.  It's not hard to fix, assuming the metadata is 
available (see flame war currently in process.) It would be easy either to 
modify the existing pages to be easier for Scholar to scrape, or to make a 
parallel set of pages, perhaps with a "welcome Google Scholar user" banner 
at the top introducing the RFC series.

> The authors or the IETF don't make any money from RFCs, I don't see
> why a third party should.

The RFC production center and RFC editor do excellent work, but I can 
assure you they don't do it for free, nor do the people who run all of the 
servers the IETF depends on.  The RFC production process has a budget 
which is public.  If the RFC editor decided that assigning DOIs to RFCs 
was a good idea, she could build the cost into the budget. Compared to 
what we already spend to produce each RFC, an extra dollar for a DOI or 
ISBN would be down in the noise.  It might cost money to get indexed in 
the ACM Digital Library and IEEE Xplore, again, if it were good value, it 
could go into the budget.

The easier it is for the world to find RFCs, the more useful they are to 
everyone. It's really short sighted to assert that people who can't find 
them are too dim to be worth our attention.  A lot of them come from 
enviroments where standards all cost money, employers do not want the 
legal risk of employes using unauthorized copies, and it literally doesn't 
occur to them that they can legitimately download a copy of every RFC off 
the net at no charge.

John Levine, johnl at taugh.com, Taughannock Networks, Trumansburg NY
"I dropped the toothpaste", said Tom, crestfallenly.

More information about the rfc-interest mailing list