Researcher Identifiers

Researcher IDs
Researcher identifiers have been the focus of OCLC Research “Registering Researchers in Authority Files” Task Group since October 2012 (see my blog post soon after we started). We recently issued our draft Registering Researchers in Authority Files report for community review and feedback.

One of the challenges in this work is that there are different stakeholders with an interest in researcher identifiers. The task group identified seven: researcher, funder, university administrator, journalist, librarian, identity management systems, and aggregators (which include publishers).  We developed use case scenarios, functional requirements and recommendations targeted at each of these stakeholders.

The task group members also represent different perspectives: ORCID and ISNI Board members, people representing the perspectives of publishers, a CRIS (Current Research Information System), VIAF, VIVO and librarians including those who create authority records and contribute them to the LC/NACO Authority File.  Task group members come from The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

During the review period we hope to receive feedback from different stakeholders with different perspectives. We’ve already heard a basic question, from a researcher: “What is an authority file?” Book authors may not even realize they have an “LCCN” identifier from an authority record a librarian created as part of cataloging their works, nor that they also have a VIAF identifier as a result.  The report’s introduction attempts to differentiate authority records and identifiers. Task group member Micah Altman (MIT), in the presentation he and I did for the spring Coalition for Networked Information membership meeting (“Integrating Researcher Identifiers into University and Library Systems”) created the following table comparing the two:

Research Identifiers Compared to Name Authorities

 Please send your comments on our draft report to me at  We plan to publish the final report in June, so feedback received by 30 April would be most timely.