[Esip-preserve] Identifiers for people?

Robert R. Downs rdowns at ciesin.columbia.edu
Wed Mar 7 12:51:14 EST 2012

Curt  -

You might already be aware of the activities of ORCID 
http://about.orcid.org/ and its collaborators to address these issues.


Bob Downs

On 3/7/2012 11:59 AM, Curt Tilmes wrote:
> A bunch of other groups have assigned various sets of identifiers for
> most of the other things I'm looking at (Thank you GCMD keywords:
> http://gcmd.nasa.gov/Resources/valids/archives/keyword_list.html)
> Most of the databases I see seem to ignore the need to unambiguously
> identify people.
> Most databases simply fall back on a plain text literal and identify
> an author as "John Doe" (or even "J. Doe").
> I want to indicate that "John Doe" the P.I. for an instrument is the
> same "John Doe" who authored some paper.  I need a clear, unambiguous
> identifier for that person.
> I could simply assign an integer as I insert into my database (I know,
> I know -- I am not a number, I am a free man!).  Another thought is
> UUID, even though they are big and ugly and make even bigger and
> uglier URIs.
> foaf:mbox_sha1sum [1] has a certain appeal since independent databases
> have a prayer of independently assigning the same identifier to the
> same person, but even that relies on jdoe at nasa.gov keeping the same
> mbox_sha1sum associated with himself when he becomes johnd at noaa.gov.
> Keeping the name itself in the URI is nice since you can look at it
> and know who it is talking about (try that with an embedded UUID), but
> what do you do when the 2nd (and 3rd) John Doe shows up?  Or if he
> becomes Jane Doe?
> Other thoughts?
> Curt
> [1] http://xmlns.com/foaf/spec/#term_mbox_sha1sum

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