[Esip-preserve] Identifiers for people?

Lynnes, Christopher S. (GSFC-6102) christopher.s.lynnes at nasa.gov
Wed Mar 7 13:37:18 EST 2012

This topic came up at the last ESIP Semantic Web telecon, where URIs are needed to identify people for some of our linked data efforts.  I thought either Erin, Tom Narock, or Eric Rozell had done some thinking on how to do this, at least for ESIP members...

On Mar 7, 2012, at 12:51 PM, Robert R. Downs wrote:

> Curt  -
> You might already be aware of the activities of ORCID 
> http://about.orcid.org/ and its collaborators to address these issues.
> Thanks,
> 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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Dr. Christopher Lynnes     NASA/GSFC, Code 610.2    phone: 301-614-5185

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