[Esip-preserve] [esip-semanticweb] Identifiers for people?

Bruce Barkstrom brbarkstrom at gmail.com
Thu Mar 8 09:20:41 EST 2012

Peter Denning raised what would seem to be an important issue
about "grounding" claims in objective or subjective ways [Denning, P.,
2011: The Grounding Practice, CACM, Vol. 54, No. 12, pp. 38-40].
If there is a claim that a particular individual is identified by a name,
what objective tests are there to support that claim?  Or are we in
a position where the only evidence we can offer to ground the claim
are subjective ones - basically testimony offered by someone else
(perhaps allowing a computer to offer the testimony).  Of course
there may be problems.  Typing names into a repository might be
subject to errors.  People lie.  Records (whether written or in data
repositories) can be damaged or forged.  So - how could you tell
whether a person's name is actually identifying that person?

Bruce B.

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 8:14 AM, Narock, Thomas W. (GSFC-672.0)[ADNET
SYSTEMS INC] <thomas.w.narock at nasa.gov> wrote:
> Hi Chris,
> For the linked data efforts we are converting ESIP and AGU membership data
> to RDF. As a result, we are creating a URI for each person. One of the
> challenges is that the data is noisy (John Doe appears along with J. Doe and
> J. M. Doe) and we need to disambiguate and create sameAs relationships.
> We’ve been exploring techniques and tools (e.g. Google Refine) that can
> assist in this process. We have some ideas on how to clean up the RDF data
> and create a unique set of identifiers for ESIP members, but it’s still a
> work in progress.
> One thing we have not considered yet is how to map to external identifiers.
> ORCID looks like a potential way of doing that. I’d be interested in talking
> with Matt and others who are familiar with this project to see how we might
> be able to leverage it.
> Tom
> On 3/7/12 1:37 PM, "Lynnes, Christopher S. (GSFC-6102)"
> <christopher.s.lynnes at nasa.gov> wrote:
> 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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