Subject Re: The other side of academic identity
From Nicole HARRIS <n.harris@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date Fri, 25 Jun 2010 10:20:13 +0100

Pretty much ditto all of the already said in the uk. We've two identifers that would fit here, our Unique Learner Number and Orcid / Names identifiers for authors.  I guess for me these are just another attribute set not issued by the entity organisation so normal problems with aggregation, attribution etc. apply.

Then there is the attribute harmonisation issue regarding how we are all managing these in our schema etc.
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----- Original Message -----
From: Ingrid Melve <ingrid.melve@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: RL 'Bob' Morgan <rlmorgan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Niels van Dijk <niels.vandijk@xxxxxxxxxx>; Thomas Lenggenhager <lenggenhager@xxxxxxxxx>; Diego R. Lopez <diego.lopez@xxxxxxxxxx>; REFeds REFeds <refeds@xxxxxxxxxx>; Gera Pronk <Gera.Pronk@xxxxxxxxxx>; jan.erik.garshol@xxxxxxxxx <jan.erik.garshol@xxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Fri Jun 25 09:23:53 2010
Subject: Re: [refeds] The other side of academic identity

On 25.06.2010 00:56, RL 'Bob' Morgan wrote:
> To paraphrase a famous Netherlands-based CS prof: the nice thing about
> unique identifiers is there are so many to choose from.

> The concept of a unique record/identifier for authors/researchers has
> been around for a long time in the library/publishing community.  I
> don't know the state of the art but it seems there are several competing
> or parallel activities, no doubt with their own histories of politics,
> ownership, regional/national boundaries, etc.  It would be interesting
> to see if the Refeds contacts in the lib/pub space could provide some
> clarity.

We have meet this issue in two different contexts the past few months:
 - the Norwegian national authority registry at the National Library,
implemented by BIBSYS, with support for
 - the research information systems based on
	in our case the new CRISTIN system being developed
In practice we use the National Identity Number (NIN) in this capacity,
but there are a number of shortcomings to this approach (researchers not
all having Norwegian citizenships, not even most Nobel laureates ;)

The topic is on our list of things to investigate, not only because of
the handy unique identifiers, but also because this is a way to track
group membership when people move around.

> If there is a role for Refeds in this, it seems to me that it would be
> in making recommendations to its member federations (and via them to
> institutional IdPs) in handling these identifiers to provide some
> benefit to apps/services.  I would hope this would mean narrowing the
> identifier set to a small number (3 or less perhaps), and defining SAML
> schema for them.  But putting IDs into databases and sending them via
> IdPs is the easy part.

Seems reasonable to share info and keep an eye out in this space.

> The real issue is how these identifiers and their associated records
> (variant name forms etc) are assigned and maintained, and how those
> records are matched to IdM records at institutions.  I'm just guessing,
> but I'll bet this stuff is managed currently by backroom staff at OCLC
> and the like, with relatively poor communications with the identified
> individuals and their institutions, and relatively poor assurance (ie, a
> lot poorer than we do at our campuses).  Could these processes be
> improved by forging strong connections with institutional IdM, using
> federation among other tools?  I'll bet they could.  Perhaps working
> with one or two identifier-sources in this way would help them become
> the preferred ones.

Attribute aggregation, with persistent cross-trackable identifiers used
only where they need to, and real-time one-shot identifiers for
everything else?  I am in.  But we are not quite there yet...