I do think that there is a difference between identification and the 
uses that libraries have made of authorities. Part of it is historical 
-- that libraries began using authority control before the use of 
computers. Library authority control controls the form of the display of 
the name as its way to achieve uniqueness. Some of the identifiers 
listed do not provide a "preferred form of the name." Instead, they 
provide a machine-readable identifier that brings together the variant 
forms of the name that have been used in publications.

Among these is VIAF, btw. VIAF identifies a person by clustering the 
authority records for that person. These authority files have preferred 
name forms, but there is no preferred display form of the name 
associated with the VIAF identifier.

This brings up the question of whether/when identifiers can perform the 
functions that are performed today by library authority control; is a 
single form of the name needed if the person can be identified in 
another way? Catalogers, in my experience, answer "Yes, users need to 
see a single form of the name." However, the world of journal articles 
simply does not provide this, and it appears that ambiguity in names 
will be resolved through identifiers rather than name forms.


On 6/4/14, 8:27 PM, Eric Lease Morgan wrote:
>>   * ORCID -
>>   * ResearcherID -
>>   * Scopus -
>>   * VIAF -
>>   * LC -
>>   * ISNI -
>> How have any of y'all used theses sorts of identifiers, and what problems do you think you will be able to solve by doing so?
> Each of these identifiers are essentially keys in a table, and the table often points to written works. To what degree are these sorts of things intended to be “authority records” and to what degree are they simply expected to be identifiers? What’s the difference? I do know that things like ORCIDs are intended to be included in grant and journal submissions — so they are keys also pointing to things like names, addresses, affiliations, etc. If there is computer-readable data/information at the other end of the identifiers, then, the data/information could be collected to create reports, such as on-the-fly curriculum vitas or departmental publication reports. —ELM

Karen Coyle
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