@dshorthouse @sharif.islam Here some answers to David’s most recent remarks:
PID kernel information (or PID record attributes, to use an alternative name) only changes occasionally. The most likely time is when the storage location of the identified digital specimen digital object changes. Then it is necessary to update the pointer to that. The PID record can also contain other pointers to other kinds of information, such as metadata, provenance, etc. but what and where depends on some design choices. For simplicity at the moment, let’s just assume there’s a metadata record associated with the digital specimen ‘thing’ (DS), as well as a trail of provenance and that this metadata record appears in a publicly searchable database.
The DS is inclusive of the physical specimen only by the fact that there is a maintained reference from itself to the physical specimen it represents. This reference will be some kind of identifier - the physicalSpecimenId - which most likely equates to the catalog number or barcode of the object in its collection. This may not be unique of course, so something else like institutionCode is also needed. The PID does not directly identify the physical object. There’s a further complexity from another layer of indirection that’s added by the existence of catalog records in a database that are publicly accessible. These records also have their identifiers.
The PID record and other elements can contain checksums so a verifiable thread can be maintained but that doesn’t prevent link rot, so responsibilities must be taken. This is the social contract. We see that already when it comes to assigning PIDs (e.g., DOI) to journal articles and datasets. The publisher (perhaps with assistance from an author) remains responsible for the accuracy of the metadata and for the reliability of the primary pointer to the object. When these change, a proxy - generally, a Registration Agency (RA) - will be instructed by the publisher to update the metadata record and the PID record. In the case of DOIs for journal articles and datasets, Crossref and DataCite are the RAs (proxies). So, the publisher creating the content also creates and maintains its metadata and primary link. The proxy creates and maintains the PID record and proper resolution to the pointers. But the proxy is not responsible for those cases where the publisher fails to inform that metadata and links have changed.
When a specimen is transferred to another museum, responsibility for maintaining the integrity of the corresponding DS also transfers - unless, of course that had been delegated previously to some third-party.