[Web4lib] Re: Web4lib Digest, Vol 20, Issue 12

Matthias Steffens mat at extracts.de
Sat Nov 11 14:06:33 EST 2006

On Sat, 11 Nov 2006 11:28:12 +0100 Tomas Baiget wrote:

> Since many years ago I've been searching online databases and
> always had to fight with the problem of authors names
> inconsistencies, both because of the database policy on the names
> format, or more frequently because the author signs differently
> each article.

Tomas, I agree that this is a major issue and it's very cumbersome
to deal with these sort of problems.

As a scientist and programmer of a bibliographic web application, I
must admit that it's completely elusive to me why the big publishers
(and/or libraries) have not pushed the development of a unique and
universal author ID system until yet -- similar to what has been
achieved with DOIs.(*)

Personally I think that the lack of unique and universally supported
author IDs is one of the biggest obstacles when working with
acedemic bibliographies and literature databases. A truly unique
author ID would solve all issues around author naming
inconsistencies and would (IMHO) greatly ease the workflow of all
involved parties. And it would be a big push towards a semantic web.

I could imagine that every author would be asked (i.e., required) to
register for an ID (or enter an existing one) when submitting an
article. These author IDs would be passed along with the
bibliographic metadata similar to how it is currently done with DOI
numbers. Such a system would not only substantially ease the process
of submitting a paper, it would also allow the development of useful
software tools. E.g, finding the CV of an author or the list of her
recent publications would be a snap.

The OpenID (<http://openid.net>) system comes to mind here, but
AFAIK it's currently more targeted at authentication issues.

Best regards, Matthias

 (*) I've talked to Ed Pentz (CrossRef) some time ago and he said
     that they were thinking about "author DOIs". I desperately hope
     that such a system will eventually see the light.

Matthias Steffens     mat at extracts.de

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