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Re: [ontolog-forum] "Data/digital Object" Identities

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Hans Polzer" <hpolzer@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:24:37 -0400
Message-id: <018c01cfed7d$cd15b300$67411900$@verizon.net>



I tend to agree with your musings. The issue of identity (of whatever entity) is certainly one that the network revolution has brought to increased importance, if for no other reason than that it exposes the identities that anyone assigns to an entity/object, be it digital or “real world” to those who may assign a different identity to that same entity/object, however “sameness” might be defined. The NCOIC Net Centric Principles grappled with this issue by means of a principle called “Entity Primacy”, which basically states that whatever identity you might assign to an entity/object, it has other identities in other, usually collective, frames of reference. Deal with that, as opposed to assuming that the identity you assigned has primacy. Usually that would mean recognizing that the entity/object has other identities in other frames of reference, and one should be prepared to map the locally assigned identity to one or more other identities in other frames of reference, presumably those used by actors with whom one might want to exchange information about said entity/object.


Of course, one could argue that any entity/object has some “natural” or “inherent” identity, such as the PID referenced below, UUID’s (Universal Unique Identifiers), or a person’s DNA, or perhaps more pragmatically, the VIN of an automobile. But even these assume a context of some, usually implicit, scope and an associated frame of reference. In other words, such an identity is inherently one of the collective within which the entity/object is being identified. Entity Primacy therefore points out that no collective context has a priori primacy for assigning identities to entities/objects. One needs to specify which collective context a particular identity for an entity/object is based on/derived from. And yes, this is recursive, since such collective contexts for assigning identities will themselves have identities in, presumably, larger contexts.


Humans just tend to glom onto some collective context (such as DNS) and assume that everyone else will simply use that collective context for identifying entities, forgetting that not everything uses DNS, even in the networking domain. PIDs would certainly help things – but they are not universal and they likely assume some representational context dimensions, as you surmise in your email. That’s OK as long as one is explicit about what those are and understand the scope limitations that they imply when interacting with others who might not share those assumptions.




From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gary Berg-Cross
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 5:39 PM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: [ontolog-forum] "Data/digital Object" Identities


There is a bit of a movement to discuss digital data in terms of Digital Objects and an  "Architecture."  One rationale for this seems to be to provide an easier mechanism for the "creation of, and access to, digital objects as discrete data structures with unique, resolvable identifiers"  - From a CNRI’s Press Release. 

It is further argued that such Digital Objects with a persistent ID (PID) will "provide a foundation for representing and interacting with information on the Internet."

Seems like a large claim and I wonder what this community thinks of this idea. After all Identity is quite a semantic issue and intuitions about identities for digital objects might cause some problems.  They seem quite mutable and we'd need to distinguish the ID for the raw data from each processing version of it.  Is a data object in one format the same as a data object in a different format or a different one?  The bit streams can change but the original identity might be considered the same.



Gary Berg-Cross, Ph.D.  


SOCoP Executive Secretary

Independent Consultant

Potomac, MD


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