One day, just recently I sent a tweet and followed up with few more addressing the problem of sharing data about creators of scholarly works. As a cataloger in heart but also as a person that has worked on system integrations, including library catalogs, institutional repositories, metadata aggregators, personal and organizational identifiers systems, publishers, and vendors, I am more and more convinced that the solution to the present challenge is a common system where all of these stakeholders/agents will be able to share and exchange data about authors. System like the one used by airlines - GDS. Not specifically that one, but similar to that as it provides exchange of information. Each of the stakeholders systems should be able to interface with the GDS system, just like each airline computer system interfaces with the GDS system. There can be many levels or modules for different tasks in this GDS system. I think this is the best example for comparison and provides a clue into what the ideal solution would be. The GDS like system to share data, a system to which publishers, vendors, OCLC, libraries, and many more would have access to and contribute with their own information. As Lukas Koster noted, this is doable, and I agree, but it is too political. How to solve this may require more than creativity.
What I will describe below, and above, is a short version of my thoughts on the subject and a pure fiction at this point.
A standard agreement for exchanging information among these various systems may be needed with an understanding that each system will keep their data intact but can share the relevant information with other systems that relate to each author. All the stakeholders interested in participating can be asked to sign an agreement.
Use case: Let's say I am a librarian that looks to find all the scholarly works by some author. I enter the GDS system as a signatory of the GDS agreement and I look up the author in the NACO file through OCLC, and I am able to find some data but I am not sure that's the right person; I then go into the Scopus platform [directly from the GDS system] and look up the author there, find additional information but I am still not sure that's the right person; I then go to the ORCID and find more information and I am finally able to confirm that, yes the person I found in the NACO file through OCLC is indeed the person I found in Scopus and ORCID. I will then add the Scopus ID and the ORCID, to the authority record in OCLC, save the record and then exit the GDS system. My transaction is complete within the GDS system. This is just a simple use case. We can add more use cases.
First step: Forming a task group or working group that can actively explore the possibilities of bringing these various stakeholders together. What we need is a place where we can have representatives from all of these communities come together and brainstorm a possible solution to this. NISO as a standards organization is a great organization to provide the space and platform for this work. We look forward to discussing this further with NISO and their Director, Todd Carpenter.
Please feel free to add your comments to the blog post. Any constructive feedback would be much appreciated.
with contributions from Lukas Koster