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Author identifier co-reference Was: Re: Comments on "The OAI2LOD Server: ..."

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008 18:05:35 -0400
Cc: "Bruce D'Arcus" <bdarcus@gmail.com>, Hugh Glaser <hg@ecs.soton.ac.uk>, Bernhard Haslhofer <bernhard.haslhofer@univie.ac.at>, bernhard.schandl@univie.ac.at, SW-forum Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, MacKenzie Smith <kenzie@mit.edu>, Ian Millard <icm@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Message-Id: <C0D87942-04FC-433E-ADB6-2670B72DBA8F@w3.org>
To: lac <lac@ecs.soton.ac.uk>

On 2008-04 -27, at 15:58, lac wrote:

> On Sun, 27 Apr 2008 15:41:19 -0400, "Bruce D'Arcus"  
> <bdarcus@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I wouldn't be so quick to diplomatically brush this aside. The  
>> library
>> world is finally taking steps into the semantic web [1], but there's
>> still a lot of work to do here, and making name authorities suitable
>> for the 21st century has to be a big one.
> Diplomatically acknowledge, by all means. But the crux of Hugh's  
> work is
> that the idea of a single point of authority for names is completely
> outdated and should be scrapped with extreme prejudice. But currently
> digital librarians, repository implementers and funders are  
> promoting the
> idea of a unified "author name authority" for the whole of Europe.

I gave a talk a while ago at Crossref.org's annual meeting - these are  
the DOI folks, one of the players in the game to be Great One  
Denominator for works.  A question they asked was along the lines of:   
"We are desperately in need of identifiers for people.  But while we  
have the authority to mint identifiers for books, who are we to mint  
identifiers for people?".   In the  centralized model, indeed you have  
to go to be the one denominator or you don't denominate at all.  I  
tried to explain that it would be really useful for me if my publisher  
had a URI for me, and hung off it the things it knows about me, and it  
would not at all conflict with the fact that I have other identifiers.

One way of looking at this in fact is that in a scale-free web you  
expect, and in fact optimize for, a situation where there are some  
major players which operate in a centralized fashion, but they are not  
unique, and you just  integrate them with everything else. Then when  
you want a name, you have a choice of whether to go for a rather  
costly bureaucratic EU-wide (or even ask the UN) name,  or use one  
from your local university, or just mint one yourself.  The existence  
of the various forms of name are useful in different ways. So so long  
as the unified "author name authority" isn't averse to there being  
others, it is fine.

In practice, what is your feeling from CRS -- that in this case each  
repository should do its own cleaning up and present its own  
identifiers for authors, and then build a c-reference management  
systems to connect those authors to authors in other repositories  
(including a Europe-wide one if someone wants to make one, but also  
including my RDF id in my FOAF file)?
Or should each repository source possibly multiple ids for authors,  
and let an external system, maybe the authors themselves, clean up by  
using a co-reference service (or just a FOAF file) to generate the "I  
am this person" and "I am not this person" links?


PS: (Yes, there is a huge difference of philosophy between the  
decentralized and the centralized mentalities, that the goal of a  
large organization can be regarded by others as a bug.  Or, as Simon  
put it, that "one man's sealing is another man's flaw".)

> ---
> Les
Received on Sunday, 27 April 2008 22:06:10 UTC

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