Monday, January 21, 2008

Researcher ID

At least a couple of bloggers have already brought to my attention the press release of ResearcherID. Basically, they are going to allow a user to make a stable and persistent id that can be used to connect aspects of a researcher's profile such as personal web page, CV, publications, etc. This is especially nice for those with a common name that is not easily found using Google.

This interests me since it will allow (I think) a researcher go one step above creating various profiles (ie. usernames and logins) on various sites and enable a single accountable online profile. The only disappointment is that it is limited to "researchers" and not any person that wants to create a unique personal identifier for them self.

I think sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn all suggest that all people want a personal profile that they can point to and say "Hey that is me!". However, people are multifaceted and can need various profiles for the different aspects of their lives. Essentially, I would like to have multiple profiles that are all connected to one online person (that is ideally a real person); one for current friends, one for past acquaintances, one for family, one for career relationships, etc. Instead of "adding" each person's Facebook, MySpace, Flickr access to mine I simply add that person (identified by a single id).

Of course this idea is not novel and has been partially attempted before (MSN Passport anyone?), but I haven't found anyone that has done it with enough flexibility and openness to really catch my attention.